Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, a two-day celebration that begins in early autumn on the first day of Tishrei (the seventh month of the Jewish calendar). Rosh Hashanah begins the High Holy Days which end ten days later with Yom Kippur. It is a time for introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the previous year and planning changes to make in the new year.
During the holiday, it is customary to refrain from bitter, sour and tart foods, and to eat foods that symbolize hopes for a sweet, pleasant year ahead. Keep reading to learn more about the traditional foods of Rosh Hashanah.
Apples & Honey
Sweet honey represents the wish for a sweet new year. On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, apple slices are dipped into honey and a prayer is said to ask for a sweet year to come.
Challah, a braided egg bread, is shaped into rounds to represent the unending cycle of life and the prayer that another year will be granted. It is often dipped into honey for the same reason as the apple slices.
Pomegranates symbolize the hope that good deeds in the upcoming year will be as plentiful as the many seeds of the fruit. It is also said that the pomegranate contains 613 seeds, just as there are 613 commandments in the Torah.
Many households bake honey cakes for Rosh Hashanah as well. The cake is generally made with autumnal spices (such as cinnamon, cloves and allspice) and different family recipes may call for the use of coffee, tea or orange juice for added flavor.
Rosh Hashanah literally translated is “head of the year” in Hebrew, and some Jewish communities traditionally serve a fish with the head intact during the holiday meal. It is also an ancient symbol of fertility and abundance.
L’Shanah Tovah – “For A Good Year”