Rosh Hashanah, meaning “head of the year” or “first of the year” in Hebrew, is the celebration of the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah is the first day of the Jewish High Holidays leading up to the most significant holiday, Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement. This year, Rosh Hashanah begins on Monday, September 6, 2021, and ends on the evening of Wednesday, September 8, 2021.
In honor of Rosh Hashanah 2021, let us take a look at some common customs and symbols for the Jewish New Year.
- Greetings: According to myjewishlearning.com the most common greeting for the holiday is “Happy New Year.” Jews will often greet one another on the holiday with the rough Hebrew equivalent, shana tovah (pronounced shah-NAH toe-VAH), which literally means “good year.”
- Traditional Foods: Families will gather and enjoy traditional food including apples dipped in honey to symbolize wishes for a sweet new year and round challah bread to represent the idea that the year is round.
- Blowing the Shofar: The Shofar, made from a ram’s horn, is one of the world’s oldest wind instruments. It was used by ancient Jews in religious ceremonies and as a battle signal. Today it is sounded at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
- Performing Tashlich: Performed on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Jews symbolically cast off the sins of the previous year by tossing pebbles or bread crumbs into a body of running water.
Often referred to as the “Birthday of the world,” Rosh Hashanah is a time to reflect, pray, and gather with loved ones. We wish you all a shana tovah!
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.
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