Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown today (October 2) and lasts until sundown on Tuesday. If you celebrate the first of the High Holy Days, you already know that. If you don’t, then you might want to learn something about it.
7. THE SOUNDING OF THE SHOFAR IS THE MOST ICONIC IMAGE OF THIS HOLIDAY.
The shofar is a ram’s horn that is curved and bent. It is hollowed out and blown during religious ceremonies to make three different sounds. Hearing it is meant to call you to repent.
8. WHILE SOME JEWISH HOLIDAYS INVOLVE FASTING, ROSH HASHANAH INVOLVES A FEAST.
It is traditional to eat apples dipped in honey to represent having a sweet year ahead. A round challah bread symbolizes the cycle of the year (another interpretation is that it represents a crown and thus God’s sovereignty). Sometimes a fish, or just its head, is included, possibly to represent that as fish cannot survive without water, Jews cannot survive without the Torah. Pomegranates contain many seeds, which have long been associated with the commandments that Jews follow, so by eating them they remind themselves to be good in the coming year. Other common foods include dates, leeks, gourds, and black-eyed peas, all of which are mentioned in the Talmud as foods to eat on New Year’s.