Features of the celebration of the Jewish New Year
The Jewish New Year is considered one of the most important Jewish holidays, celebrated by Jews around the globe. Literally, the name of the holiday - Rosh Hashanah - is translated from Hebrew as "head of the year." It is celebrated in honor of the creation of our world by the Lord God. Symbolizes the onset of the next year and the end of the year.
According to ancient belief, it is believed that in the coming days Rosh Hashanah the Most High decides what fate is prepared for each person in the next year. Therefore, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, the Jews spend a lot of time studying the Torah and recite the prayers of repentance. And on the holiday itself, they analyze their actions over the entire past year, repent of their sins and ask forgiveness from loved ones for the offenses they have suffered.
Throughout the holidays, prayers are read in the synagogue, which are directed to the Lord God in order to influence his final decision regarding human destinies.
According to the lunar calendar
The Jewish New Year is celebrated on the first two days of the Jewish month of Tishrei, which falls on a new moon. It is noteworthy that its occurrence does not have exact dates and the days of the celebration are different every year. But according to the Jewish (lunar) calendar, they always fall in September or early October. The holiday is celebrated 163 days after the beginning of Pesach (a Jewish holiday associated with the Exodus date of the Jews from Egypt).
In case any of the New Year's Day falls on Saturday, then the celebration continues for one more day.
In 2017, Rosh Hashanah (the 5778 will occur on the Jewish calendar) falls on September 21 and 22, and the celebration will begin on September 20 in the evening, since in the Jewish calendar all days begin not from midnight, but from the sunset of the previous day.
During these two days, no work is allowed except for cooking.
Old wind instrument calling for repentance
The most exciting moment in the days of the holiday are the sounds of the shofar - a wind instrument made of sheep's horns, and one of the main attributes of Rosh Hashanah. The shofar has an ancient history dating back to Moses.
On public holidays in the synagogue there must be a hundredfold pipe, with 40 of them being distributed after the end of the service. The last sound is the longest. Listen to the shofar standing and in complete silence.
On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the sounds of the wind instrument are heard not only in the synagogue, but also in places of large concentrations of people, for example, in schools, near shopping centers, near the markets or near the railway station. Thus, the shofar calls all Jews to repentance.
When the New Year's Eve falls on the Sabbath, then the shofar does not blow.
What are the customs?
Rosh Hashanah is considered a symbol of the emergence of not only the new year, but also a renewed life. Therefore, before the holiday in all the houses they carry out general cleaning and throw away old unnecessary things.
On the first evening, everyone wants to get to each other in the "Book of Life", where the Creator enters the names of the righteous, who are destined to live another year.
According to the old tradition, close people give each other various gifts, symbolizing good luck and well-being, for example, a pot of honey. Do not forget to congratulate those who are far from home.
Another custom, rooted in the past, is the Tashlich rite.On afternoons, Jews gather around any reservoir in which fish must be found: rivers, ponds or lakes, read prayers and repent of perfect sins.
At the same time they throw pieces of bread into the water. The purpose of Tashlich is to encourage the Jews to turn to self-analysis, to recognize their mistakes and try to correct them. At the same time, water is a symbol of Torah, and a fish swimming with open eyes reminds of the “all-seeing ocean” of God.
Menu with encrypted characters
Celebrating Rosh Hashanah is not without a rich feast. The whole family gathers at a large table, which is full of many dishes. During the first meal, there are many sweet dishes that are a symbol of a happy coming year.
In the center there are always apples, poured with honey. Also in the menu should be included challah (sweet roll), over which the blessing was uttered. They eat it, dipping each piece of honey, so that next year everyone will have good health and wealth in their families.
In addition, there must be other dishes on the table that are specially prepared for the New Year holiday and carry certain wishes:
- carrot sliced - a symbol of gold coins;
- the head of a fish (or mutton) reminds one that one should always strive to be ahead;
- pomegranate grains symbolize the multiplication of merit;
- fruits and vegetables are a sign of fertility and a rich harvest.
The main principle of drawing up the menu for such a holiday is the variety of dishes - the more treats, including meat, the more likely that next year will bring prosperity and wealth. In order for this all to come true, one more condition must be observed - during the meal, all those gathered at the table wish each other good luck, happiness, health and other earthly blessings.
This is the unusual New Year celebrated by Jews around the world. It has its own ancient customs and traditions, which the Jews honor and respect.
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