What is the best way to say Happy New Year during Rosh Hashanah? Read on to find out about Rosh Hashanah greetings and all that follows during the celebrations. In addition, every year, there are approximately 100,000 Jews who travel to Uman for Rosh Hashanah to be there with Rebbe Nachman and to receive the amendment he promised.

Let the Celebrations Begin: Start with Rosh Hashanah Greetings

Rosh Hashanah, like many other holidays, begins with greeting our friends, family, and community. These celebratory greetings show our loved ones our good wishes and hopes for the future. These greetings pronounce, “Let the festivities begin!”

When you read this article, you can learn:

  • * Why Rosh Hashanah is Celebrated
  • * Traditional Rosh Hashanah Greetings
  • * Customs During the Celebrations
  • * Symbolic Food
  • * Flowers During Rosh Hashanah
  • * Different Types of Greeting Cards

Why Rosh Hashanah is Celebrated

Rosh Hashanah is one of four Jewish New Years; this particular one celebrates people, legal contracts, and animals. The date of the New Year was established by early agricultural societies to mark the beginning of the sewing, growth, and harvest cycles for crops. This day also symbolizes the date of the creation of Adam and Eve, which was the start of humans’ part in God’s world.

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days. The day, the Day of Judgement is the day where, symbolically, the three Books of Account are opened, and the fate of believers is recorded. If a person is determined to be wicked, then they are wiped out of the Book of Life forever. Jews who are determined to be righteous are immediately written into the Book of Life. And for those who find themselves somewhere in the middle, are given 10 days to reflect, atone, and become righteous. The 10 days culminates on Yom Kippur.

Traditional Rosh Hashanah Greetings

Like many celebrations across different cultures and religions, it is customary to acknowledge one another with traditional greetings. Shanah Tovah, meaning “have a good year,” is one of the most common greetings used. Also appropriate would be the Yiddish phrases a gut yor meaning “a good year,” or a variation of that, a gut gebentsht, “a good and blessed year.”

More general greetings that are used during other holidays throughout the year include gut yontif translating to “wishing you a good holiday.” Another multi-purpose greeting is chag sameach, “happy holiday.”

Greetings are also exchanged at the end of Rosh Hashanah. G’mar chatimah Tovah, “may you be inscribed for good,” expresses your hope that the person will have a favorable sealing into the Book of Life. After Yom Kippur, it is customary to proclaim gmar tov, “a good conclusion.”

Customs During the Celebrations

One of the most joyful, noise creating customs during Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, a musical instrument fashioned out of a cleaned out ram’s horn. This sounding of the horn is to meet the Hebrew Bible requirements that call worshipers to raise some noise. The shofar is blown hundreds of times throughout one day. The call of the horn is a symbolic wake-up call for Jews to mend their ways for those who may have strayed.

Symbolic Food

Celebrations are not complete without a bounty of food, and Rosh Hashanah does not disappoint. Many communities celebrate the New Year with a large dinner serving many symbolic foods providing a bountiful meal for all the celebrants. One of the most important foods is apples that have been dipped in honey. The apples show hope for a sweet new year. Also traditionally served is an entire fish, or just the head, which symbolizes the prayer, “let us be the head and not the tail.” Side dishes can include dates, black-eyed peas, keftedes de prasa, and beets. Because the many seeds of a pomegranate symbolize being fruitful, they too can be found in this feast. Round challah bread is served to represent the cycle of the year.

Flowers During Rosh Hashanah

Creating a festive occasion is achieved through your thoughtful attention to detail. It is customary to decorate with white during Rosh Hashanah because the color is symbolic of purity, clarity, and positivity. Generally, white is used for table coverings, napkins, and the dishes as well. It is also traditional to wear new white clothes.

If you have been invited to a Rosh Hashanah celebration, consider taking a bouquet of white flowers to add a festive touch to the tables as well as capture the themes of purity and new beginnings. You can choose any white flowers such as roses, orchids, or daisies for the arrangement. Another appropriate hostess gift would be a gift basket with symbols of the season, such as dates, pomegranates, and apples.

Because Rosh Hashanah celebrates the harvest cycle, a gift of flowers doesn’t necessarily need to be restricted to white. A bouquet that embraces the colors of fall is also appropriate. Consider the striking shades of rust, orange, and purple.

Different Types of Greeting Cards

Another fun way to celebrate the holiday and spread cheer to your friends and family is to send a greeting card. There are many types to send that are a perfect match to the personality of the recipient. In essence, paper greeting cards for Rosh Hashanah depict everything from symbolic foods to traditional verses.

E-cards are a more modern, whimsical greeting for Rosh Hashanah. They come with animated features and, most of the time, have a musical element as well. They depict images of the holiday such as the shofar, pomegranates, apples, and honey and convey a traditional greeting. E-cards can be sent right from your computer.

A wish card is another type of e-card to send. It comes in a form much like a postcard; it sends its wishes in a 30-45 second animated video with music. Like the e-card, they send traditional greetings woven in with symbols of the holiday.


Rosh Hashanah is the start of the Jewish New Year. It’s a time to not only reflect and atone but to look to the future. It’s a time when family and friends appreciate one another and celebrate their commitment to their faith and anticipation for the new year. It is a time filled with greetings, food, and flowers.

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