Rosh Hashanah – The Holiest Day in The Jewish Calendar and Their Celebrations

rosh hashanah

Rosh Hashanah

Every religion in the world follows its own customs and rituals. Besides many other events, New Year celebration is one of the major celebration in early every religion. In Jewish culture, the celebration of New Year is termed as Rosh Hashanah. TechMAG did a deep research about some of the Jews Events and Festivals in which one of them is described below with massive details in it like its history and celebrations across the world.

Rosh Hashanah 2018 will begin in the evening of

9 September 2018

and ends in the evening of


11 September 2018


What is Rosh Hashanah?

rosh hashanahRosh Hashanah definition explains to us that it is the birthday of our Universe that is the day on which our Universe came into being. It is said to be the day of Adam and Eve’s creation according to Jews.

Word Rosh means “head” and Shanah means “year”, so Rosh Hashanah meaning is “beginning of the year or head of the year. Rosh Hashanah New Year is the beginning of the Jewish New year and is the first of High Holidays of Hebrew Calendar. There are several other names used for Rosh Hashanah like:

  • Yom Teruah
  • Yom Hazikaron
  • Yom Hadim
  • Yamim Noraim

What is Yamim Nora’im?

Before the month of Elul, Yamim Nora’im is present which consists of 10 days from the beginning of Rosh Hashanah to the end of Yom Kippur. The people practice repentance and examination of their deeds in these days.

What is Yom Kippur?

It is known to be the Day of Atonement, one of the High Holiday in Jewish calendar followed by Rosh Hashanah. It consists of 25 hours fast and five prayers service to seek the repentance of God.

History of Rosh Hashanah:

Rosh Hashanah is originated from the bible is celebrated as the main head of Jewish year and has two days celebration. In Judaism, it is the anniversary of Adam and Eve creation. Jew celebrate the creation of first ever man Adam. To the earliest known times, it refers to the ancient near East where it as related to the agricultural events like beginning of sowing seeds and harvesting crops.

According to Jewish culture, they have marked 4 major new years in history, each one of them marks a specific beginning of various events:

  • Nissan, the lunar month that indicates the beginning of reign of Jewish kings.
  • Tishrei corresponds to the Hebrew Bible and shows the first day of Hebrew month.
  • Elul, time of sacrificing cattle to the God.
  • Sh’vat, the New Year of Trees.

Similarly, Sukkot also was used for New Year beginning being the feast of ingathering.

It has been celebrated for the first time in 7th century BCE during the first Temple Period and the name Rosh Hashanah was given to this High Holiday in the second century C.E. in Mishnah. The oldest name in this reference is Yom T,ruah used for the beginning of the New year.

The religious significance of Rosh Hashanah:

The religious significance of Rosh Hashanah is mentioned in Mishnah, as the Day of Judgment, also known as Yom Kippur in Jewish liturgy. It is mentioned that on the day of Rosh Hashanah, three books will be opened and individual fates according to the deeds will be decided. Righteous people will live forever, intermediate will respite for 10 days to repent and rethink and wicked people will be removed from the book of living on.

When does Rosh Hashanah happen?

After the 163 days of first day of Passover, Rosh Hashanah occurs with 5thseptember as earliest day that happened in the year 1899 and latest day of 5thoctober in the year 1967.

What day is Rosh Hashanah?

As Jewish calendar months begin with the site of new moon, earlier it was believed that it is a one day celebration as described in Tora but during the time of Rabban, 2 days celebration was made a Rosh Hashanah custom hence the Rosh Hashanah calendar begins from the roshe one.

Rosh Chodesh is the name given to the first day of every month in Hebrew calendar when the new moon is born.

When is Rosh Hashanah celebrated?

According to the tradition of Rosh Hashanah celebration, it is celebrated on 1st and 2nd Tishrei. Tishrei is the Hebrew month that corresponds to the seventh month mainly September and October.

The New Year celebration starts on the sunset of 1st Tishrei every year and is continued till the nightfall of 2nd Tishrei. When is it celebrated i.e. Rosh Hashanah date varies around every year according to English calendar. The High Holy days and Sukkot events are also celebrated during the month of Tishrei.

How Rosh Hashanah is celebrated:

What happens on Rosh Hashanah has been changed over years and Rosh Hashanah customs include many activities. Rosh Hashanah festivals and customs are modified but some are running in the Jewish culture since the beginning of time. A few of the Rosh Hashanah traditions include the following events:

  • Listening to Shofar:

Shofar Rosh Hashanah is one of the most important things done on Rosh Hashanah as mentioned in Torah. Shofar also known as ram’s horn is blown on this holy day and it is heard as a sacred activity. It is blown in the morning of both holidays. A shofar is made from the horn of animal kosher after removing its marrow and is blown as a prayer service in the day time of both Rosh Hashanah days after reading Torah.

Shofar blowing contains around 100 blasts per day and it is a tradition that it is heard by men only. It is repeated at several intervals during musaaf prayer.

  • rosh hashanahKaraite Judaism:

It is a Jewish religious movements characterized by the belief that is the beginning of Jewish new year according to Torah. No work is done in the day except preparation of food.

  • Tashlikh:

It is a ritual performed in the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah during which people recite blessing near flowing water to cast off their sins by throwing pebbles in the water. It has become a socially performed ceremony over the last few years.

  • Selichot recitation:

Selichot recitation is done that includes Jewish prayers in High Holidays and fast days. It has a central theme called the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy and has following categories:

  • Selichah for forgiveness
  • Pizmonfor chorus
  • Akeidah for binding
  • Chatanu for we have sinned
  • Techinah for petition
    Light Festival:
    Candle lightening is done on both evening of Rosh Hashanah by girls and women in the home. This is done along with the recitation of specific blessings. This is also known as Shabbat candles. It is also a tradition to eat new fruit on the second evening after the recitation of Kiddush on a cup of wine.

The kindling of candles date back to the Biblical times and candle are lit on nearly every occasion like Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot etc.

According to the High Holiday candle lightening tradition, candles are lit 18 minutes before the sun is set or before the meal of the Holiday. However you can also lit the candles after the meal or sunset from the pre existing flame. This is the custom on first day of light festival.

On second night candles are lit after nightfall from pre existing flames and blessings are recited.

  • High holiday services:

Most of the people are in search of High Holiday services, and many Chabad are arranged that specialize in providing such services. Some of these work with membership whereas others require no membership.

  • Symbolic foods: Sweet New Year is welcomed by eating something sweet, the tradition mainly include apple with honey which is one of the latest performed Rosh Hashanah activities.
  • Cemetery visit: on Rosh Hashanah, the graves of the righteous people area visited and prayers are performed.
  • Rosh Hashanah Seder: It is held as a custom during which symbolic dishes are made and blessings are recited over Rosh Hashanah Seder plate.
  • Mikvah: it is custom followed by men during which they immerse themselves in mikvah, before Rosh Hashanah is started to add in the blessing and holiness of the year.
  • Fasting: some people also follow the custom of fasting on Rosh Hashanah but it is not an obligation.
  • Prayers service:

Most of the time in day is spent in synagogue. The morning services are longer but evening and afternoon are like regular holidays.

Piyyuttim is one of the religious poems recited as prayer service on Rosh Hashanah.  It is also known silent prayer and expresses our silent prayers and wishes for the upcoming year. Special prayers book called “mahzor” and “Yom Kippur” are recited that contain all the blessings and prayers to be recited. New additions like extension of amidah prayers have been made over the passage of time. Amidah is the prayer performed between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashanah Food:

Rosh Hashanah cooking is one of the most celebrated and enjoyable things to be done. It contains cooking of a large variety of food items that include symbolic foods, sweet dishes and much more. Hundreds of special Rosh Hashanah recipes are being made and served as Rosh Hashanah meals. It is a tradition to eat apple dipped in honey to begin the sweet New Year.

Symbolic foods are added in the festivals like head of the fish with the prayers that make us the head and not the tail. Similarly pomegranate is eaten to make the New Year fruitful.

Rosh Hashanah brisket is one of the latest additions in the traditional food on Rosh Hashanah festival. It is made of meat with spices that is baked and eaten with beverages and sauces.

Rosh Hashanah menu include the most delicious cooking storm including tasteful sweet delicacies which are served with each Rosh Hashanah prayers.

Other Dishes include:

  • Yehiratzon platter made of apple, date, pomegranate, peas
  • Rodanchas, the pumpkin filled pastries
  • Keftedes de prasa (leek fritters)
  • Legumbresyaprakes ( stuffed vegetable)
  • Round challah loaves( bread with raisins)
  • Tzimmes ( sweet carrot)

Others include a large variety of challah, fish, salads, soups, tzimmes, kugels and much more. Many Rosh Hashanah dinner and other meals recipes are running in the Jewish culture from centuries and modifications are dine in them according to the desires. However it is a custom to avoid nuts during Rosh Hashanah.

rosh hashanahRosh Hashanah greetings:

The most common greeting of Rosh Hashanah in Hebrew is ShanahTovah meaning have a good year.

Other greetings used:

  • Shanah tovah umetukah( a good and sweet year)
  • Ketivah VaChatimah Tovah ( a good inscription in the book of life)
  • L’shanah tovah tikatevu v’tichatemu
  • Gemar chatimah tovah

Till Yom kippur, the Rosh Hashanah greeting in Hebrew used is Gmar Tov means wishing you a good conclusion.

It is a tradition that on first night of Rosh Hashanah wishes are made, male is wished with Hebrew greetings “Leshanah tovah tikatev vetichatem;” which a female replies with “Leshanah tovah tikatevee vetichatemee”

Rosh Hashanah for children:

Rosh Hashanah has a special festivity for kids and brings a lot of fun as it is a Jewish holiday today. They are being told about the story of Rosh Hashanah even in the form of videos. Rosh Hashanah cards for kids bring a special entertainment. They are being taught about the religious Rosh Hashanah customs and traditions, light candles and greet one another with New Year greetings. Kids are taken to synagogues where they recite blessings and hear shofar.

Rosh Hashanah gifts are also given to the kids in families and special Rosh Hashanah e cards blessings, new roshes and greetings are given to each other to wish each other to have happy Rosh Hashanah year.

When is Rosh Hashanah this year, 2018:

Rosh Hashanah takes place on the 1st and 2nd of Tishrei, a month of Hebrew calendar. That change its date on English calendar every year. In 2017, it was held on dates 20 September, 2017 on unset to nightfall of 22nd September 2017.

Now in the upcoming year, the most exciting event of Jewish New Year will be on the dates of September 9, 2018 and September 11, 2018.

It means that it will begin at the sunset of Sunday, 9th September and will end on the nigh fall of Tuesday, 11th September. Thus you will be having holiday on the above mentioned days and can enjoy Rosh Hashanah. So Rosh Hashanah holiday will start from 9th September 2018 to 11th September 2018.

Happy Rosh Hashanah From TechMAG.

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