Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is both a time of rejoicing and of serious introspection – a time to celebrate the completion of another year while also taking stock of one’s life. The two days of Rosh Hashanah usher in the Ten Days of Repentance, which culminate in the major fast day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Among the popular traditions associated with the holiday is a ceremony performed on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah called Tashlich, when people throw crumbs or pieces of bread, symbolizing their sins, into flowing water.
The Challah (traditional bread) that is eaten for the Rosh Hashanah season is round, symbolizing the eternal cycle of life. Challah is traditionally dipped in honey, symbolizing the hopes for a sweet New Year. The same is done with apples, which are made even sweeter with the addition of honey.
Four days after Yom Kippur, the holidays of Sukkot will begin. This festival is also known as the Feast of the Tabernacles, as it remembers the years that the people of Israel spent sheltered in tents while crossing the desert from Egypt to the Promised Land. That is why many Jews celebrate these seven days by eating and sleeping in a tent (sukkah), that they set in their garden or balcony.
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