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Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish greeting for “Happy New Year.” In Hebrew, this is equivalent to Shanah tovah, which means “good year.” These celebrations are more than a simple party. There are significant and important meanings and messages behind the occurrence of these events.
What is Rosh Hashanah?
This festival celebrates the new year in the Jewish faith. In Hebrew, it is translated directly as “head of the year.”
The celebration occurs in autumn, rather than the 1st of January. This date comes from the Hebrew calendar and calls for honoring over two days. This happens on the first day of Tishrei on the Hebrew calendar, during September or October. Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on the first day and ends at sunset 48 hours later.
The week after this, the celebration of Yom Kippur is held.
Four major new year celebrations are noticed in Jewish law. Each new year represents a new beginning for something different.
What Significance Does Rosh Hashanah Hold?
This celebration holds more value than a simple New Year’s party. It is a commemoration of the world. Originally, this was connected to the start of a new economic year in agricultural circles.
During the festival, Jewish people reflect on their previous year and ask for forgiveness for their wrongdoings. It is a time to think and re-evaluate. Priorities and goals need to be set for the following 12 months ahead.
Rosh Hashanah is not a one-day event; it leads up to the special celebration of Yom Kippur. The start of Rosh Hashanah is known as the “10 Days of Awe,” as they are the days that lead up to Yom Kippur. During this period, Jewish people spend their time focusing on repenting for their sins and reflecting on their previous decisions. This period of focus is known as Jewish High Holy Days.
Yom Kippur is considered to be the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. It is also referred to as the Day of Atonement due to it being the climax of repentance.
How Rosh Hashanah is Celebrated
This celebration takes place over two days; however, it is viewed to be one extended day. This is not meant to be a festive celebration, but rather a time of evaluation.
This period is still observed with prayers and the sharing of food between friends and family. Examples of food shared include apples and challah bread dipped in honey. This is a symbol of hopes for a sweet new year. Fish is another food that is generally eaten as it represents abundance and fertility.
What Happens During Rosh Hashanah?
During the first day of formalities, Jewish people often perform the Tashlich ceremony while praying near a body of water. Pieces of bread or other food are typically thrown into the water to symbolize the abandoning of sins.
On this sacred day, Jews are forbidden from doing any work; it is a day of rest. Cooking is an activity that is allowed; however, there are certain restrictions.
Another tradition that takes place on this day is the blowing of the Shofar, an old wooden wind instrument. It is a large horn. One hundred notes need to be blown to create a specific rhythm.
In addition to these activities, candles are lit, and people are asked to attend a service at the Synagogue to pray and ask for forgiveness.
How to Wish People a Happy Rosh Hashanah
A popular greeting used to wish people a happy new year is “L’shanah tovah.” The Hebrew term Shanah Tovah is also used.
Other words are used, such as “u’metuka.” This is said to wish people a sweet and prosperous year. People are wished in this manner as this time of year is believed to set the tone for the year ahead.
Rosh Hashanah is a sacred event in Jewish culture. It is a time to turn over a new leaf and correct the previous mistakes you have made. This is the perfect opportunity for a new beginning. It has a deeper meaning as it allows individuals to perform a true introspection of themselves without facing judgment. It enhances the idea that everyone can start over if they take the opportunity and let go of their past mistakes.