Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year that falls on the first and
second days of the Jewish month of Tishrei, at the end of the summer. Want to know some interesting facts about this Jewish holiday? Read on…
1. Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the creation of the world and is said to have been the sixth day of creation, when man and woman were created.
2. On the very first Rosh Hashanah Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, G-d judged them and forgave them. After this He said that just as they were judged by Him on this day and were forgiven, so too their descendants will be judged and forgiven on this day.
3. The majority of the festival of Rosh Hashanah is spent in synagogue, the House of Prayer with special services for Rosh Hashanah taking place.
4. A ram’s horn is blown during prayer services on Rosh Hashanah so as to arouse the people to repent and change their ways.
5. There are many symbolic foods eaten on Rosh
Hashanah that have special meanings pertaining to the festival. The classic example is apple dipped in honey which represents the hope for a sweet new year. Many have the custom to recite special blessings before eating the symbolic foods, referring to the special meaning that each food carries.
6. There is a special greeting with which Jewish people greet one another on Rosh Hashanah; “Shana Tova,” meaning, “A Good Year,” i.e. You should have a good year.
7. On all Jewish holidays and Sabbaths a special egg-bread called a Challah is served at the beginning of the meal. It is traditionally braided. On Rosh Hashanah there is a custom to serve round Challah loaves which are meant to represent the circular nature of the year and the life-span. Raisins are commonly added, once again in order to symbolize the desire for a sweet new year. There are also those who shape their Challah loaves in the shape of ladders, symbolizing their desire to climb upwards spiritually in the coming year.
8. The date of Rosh Hashanah changes in the Gregorian Calendar from year to year as the Jewish calendar is a solar one and does not match the Gregorian one precisely.
9. There is a custom to place a fish head on the festive table when eating the Rosh Hashanah meals. The fish is recognized in Judaism as a symbol of fertility and prosperity and in the same way that a fish cannot live out of water so too this represents the fact that Jewish people cannot live without Torah (which is likened to water).
10. There is a tradition that pomegranates contain 613 seeds which is the amount of commandments in the Jewish Bible. It is therefore customary to eat pomegranates on Rosh Hashanah, in hope that in the coming year the eaters will be as full of good deeds as the pomegranate is of seeds.