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What do you say on Rosh Hashanah?

The celebration of the Jewish New Year, the first of the High Holidays, is when families and friends gather and wish each other a good, sweet year!

How to wish someone a happy Jewish New Year

Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) is being celebrated this weekend – this year, starts at sundown on Friday 15th; the two-day event which marks the first day of the Jewish new year is heralded by the blowing of the shofar, an ancient ram’s horn. Rosh Hashanah, which will continue through the weekend until sunset on Sunday 17th, is a time for family and friendship - and also tzedakah - the act of giving to those less fortunate. Rosh Hashanah is nearly always celebrated in September or October. It is celebrated as one day by some denominations and two days by others.

Rosh Hashanah, which literally translates to ‘head of the year’, commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection, reflection and making resolutions. It culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. This weekend will see the conclusion of the Jewish year 5783 and the entering of the year 5784 in the Jewish calendar.

Shana Tova!

The traditional greeting at this time, one of the two High Holy Days in the Jewish religion is Shana Tova! or sometimes said as Shana Tova um’tukah. In Hebrew, the word Shana means ‘year’ and Tova means ‘good’ while um’tukah means ‘sweet’. So the greeting ‘Shana Tova!’ literally means have a good, sweet year – the English language equivalent of ‘Shana Tova um’tukah!’ would be ‘Have a Happy and prosperous New Year!”.

Sweet foods are traditionally eaten throughout the celebrations – slices of apple dipped in honey, pomegranate and braided challah bread are traditionally eaten during the celebrations. The challah bread is usually baked in a round shape to symbolize either the cyclical nature of life or the crown of God. Raisins are sometimes added to the dough for a sweet new year. Shana Tova!