Hello friends, today we are going to discuss how Rosh Hashanah is celebrated and some more facts about the festival. As you might be knowing, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year marking the first two days of the Tishrei. It is traditionally celebrated with blowing of shofar and indulging in some sweet delicacies, signifying a sweet beginning to the new year.
There are certain rituals and customs which are followed in the spirit of the festival. The significance of Rosh Hashanah is to seek repentance from the Lord for the coming year. Hence the overall mood of the celebration is solemn yet joyful. In brief, the observances during rosh hashanah include sounding of shofar (ram’s horn), praying in a synagogue and reflection of self over the past year.
Here are some popular customs which are followed to observe Rosh Hashanah :
- Traditional Sweet Delicacies :
Rosh Hashanah is known for its festive spread and traditional delicacies. The traditional food prepared during the period is usually sweet, to signify a sweet beginning to the new year to someone. The most popular delicacy prepared by the Jews is apples dipped in honey. This is consumed during the first night of the festival.
Some other traditional foods include :
- Kiddush over wine or grape juice.
- Round, raised challan bread dipped in honey.
- The heads of fish, pomegranates, and other foods which represent our wishes for the upcoming year.
- A new fruit of the season on the second night.
- Blowing of Shofar (ram’s horn)
One of the most important traditions in celebrating Rosh Hashanah is blowing a Shofar, or a hollowed out ram’s horn. It is not actually a tradition but is considered to be a mitzvah or a commandment given by God, that must be performed every morning of Rosh Hashanah. The shofar is blown at various intensities, such as long, short and staccato blasts.
The tradition is followed as per Toran, following prescription given in the Bible in the Hebrews to “raise a noise” on Yom Teruah.
- Rosh Hashanah Eve
The evening before Rosh Hashanah is called Erev Rosh Hashanah. As the days of Hebrew calendar begin at sundown, it is considered the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. Some Jewish communities perform Hatarat nedarim, or nullification of vows after the morning prayers in the synagogue.
- Candle Lighting
As with every Jewish festivity, candles are lit by the women and girls on each evening of the festival, along with the recitation of blessings.
- Special Prayers
During the Rosh Hashanah, special prayers are offered in the synagogue throughout the day. The morning prayer services are significantly longer than the evening and afternoon prayers. A holiday prayerbook, called a mazchor, contains all the prayers and Torah’s readings for the entire day. Although it is similar to normal days prayers, there are some additions which make the prayer services during Rosh Hashanah unique.
The first addition is Torah readings, which is read on both the mornings of the festival.
Also, religious poems, called piyyutum, are added to the regular prayer services. An extended repetition Amidah prayer is also included in it which express our wishes for the year and theme for the day, which is performed for both Shacharit and Mussaf. The shofar is blown several intervals during the Mussaf.