Celebrating the New Year isn’t the only theme of Rosh Hashanah; it is also:
- A day of Judgment because it is believed by Jews that on Rosh Hashanah it will be decided whether they will live or die in the coming year, their names will be written in the Holy Book, and 10 days later on ‘Yom Kippur’ the book will be sealed.
- A Day of Remembrance– Recalling the biblical account of Abraham and Isaac, Jews are reminded that in order to attain God’s mercy we must submit to him first.
CUSTOMS AND SYMBOLS:
- On both days of Rosh Hashanah, the ‘Shofar’ must be blown 100 times each day. The Shofar is an important symbol of Rosh Hashanah. It is an instrument which is made out of a Ram’s horn.
- It is customary to wear white apparel on Rosh Hashanah as it symbolizes purity. In all synagogues, curtains and covers are also changed to white.
- A custom ritual called ‘Tashlich’ is performed on the first day (second day if it falls on Shabbat). Most Jews go to the bank of a river or a lake; some even go to the beach, recite certain prayers and symbolically cast their sins into the water.
- On the second night of Rosh Hashanah it is customary to eat fruit, usually fruit that is new to the season. Apples dipped in honey are most common and especially significant for Rosh Hashanah as it symbolizes hope for a sweeter New Year.
- The customary greeting during Rosh Hashanah is ‘L’shanah Tovah’ which means ‘Have a good year’, People also greet each other by saying ‘L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu’ and ‘Gemar Chatimah Tovah’ which means ‘May you be inscribed in the book of life for a good year’ and ‘May your final sealing in the book of life be good‘ respectively. Many People also send New Year’s greetings cards on Rosh Hashanah a few days before the holiday begins.