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What is Rosh Hashanah and how is it celebrated?

Rosh Hashanah, one of the High Holy Days, means the “head of the year” and is a celebration of the Jewish New Year filled with sweetness and introspection.

Typical ways to celebrate Rosh Hashanah

The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) is one of Judaism’s holiest periods. Meaning “head of the year”, the celebration begins on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which normally falls during September or October. Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the two “High Holy Days” in the Jewish religion.

Rosh Hashanah in 2023

Rosh Hashanah this year began at sundown on Friday 15 September and will finish on sunset on Sunday 17 September. Family and friends will gather together to feast and celebrate. The holiday also involves tzedakah - the act of giving to those less fortunate.

Traditional food associated with Rosh Hashanah feasts include round challah bread (studded with raisins) and apples dipped in honey, as well as other foods that symbolize good wishes for a sweet year ahead.

Other Rosh Hashanah traditions include the lighting of candles in the evenings, wearing new clothes and desisting from creative work along with visits to the synagogue.