Rosh Hashanah Celebrations & Activities

The celebrations of Rosh Hashanah involves two days and takes in the following stages

Setting the table

It is conventional to make use of a white cloth for Rosh Hashanah, as on any other Jewish festivals and the Sabbath. Arranging the table using the finest chinaware and silver augments to the festivity.

Two wrapped pieces of challah should be placed on the top of the table. Circular challah pieces are frequently used on Rosh Hashanah to represent a wonderful and faultless, returning year to arrive. A few folks also dish up challah pieces stuffed with raisins for more sugariness. The challahs must be wrapped up with a fabric.

Apples, cut into wedges must also be placed on the table.

A bowl full of honey ought to be close to the challah and the apples. 

Last of all, every family leader must have a kiddush cup.

Lighting of the candles

Eighteen minutes prior to the sundown, candles are light up to greet the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah. 

Minimum two candles are lighten up, after that both of the hands are gestured in the direction of the face, figuratively securing the brightness of the candles and the holiness of the sacred day. The eyes are closed and the prayers over the candles are delivered.

An extra prayer, known as Shehechiyanu, is narrated at the same time as lighting candles on Rosh Hashanah. This prayer is about the good luck of being able to celebrate the festival.

Subsequent to lighting of the candles and earlier than the celebratory feast, evening services are conducted in the synagogue. Following the synagogue services, it is traditional to welcome each other with New Year greetings by saying "Shana Tova."

Prayers over the Wine

The Rosh Hashanah kiddush (prayers over wine), which can be located in the machzor, the festival prayer book, is narrated. 

Prayers over the Challah

On Rosh Hashanah day, following to the custom of bathing of the hands, the prayer is conducted over two pieces of challah.

Subsequent to the prayers, the challah is sliced or ragged into parts and every part is immersed in honey. This represents the anticipation for a sweet year. The tradition of plunging the challah in honey carries on till the conclusion of Sukkot.

Prayers over the apple and honey

On Rosh Hashanah day, a piece of apple is plunged in honey and the two prayers are narrated.

Enjoy the festive meal

A celebratory evening feast is eaten on Rosh Hashanah. 

Given that Rosh Hashanah is the day of verdicts, it is traditional to have foods with figurative connotations to call upon the God's blessings. 

Playing the holy shofar

On the daybreak of Rosh Hashanah, folks go to synagogue to listen to the sounds of the holy shofar. Shofar is generally made of ram’s horn. It is a Torah compulsion to attend the playing of shofar on Rosh Hashanah. The shofar is played for the period of the Mussaf  prayer on Rosh Hashanah day.

There are four varieties of shofar sounds:

  • Tekiah
    This is a stretched, hard sound. It sounds just as a trumpet blast. This is a prompt that God is the ruler of the entire cosmos. The delight in the blast also repeats that God is affectionate and compassionate.
  • Shevarim
    These are three blasts with little gaps in between. The shevarim is indicative of deep groans where one is out of breath. The shevarim is the commencement of the gratitude of all that God does for us.
  • Teruah
    This is nine rapid sounds. The teruah brings to mind the sensation of little sharp weeps in tears. The teruah is a cue that the year is finishing and the occasion to be sorry for wrongs will quickly go by.
  • Tekiah Gedolah
    This is the stretched out, firm sound that is played as the final blast of the shofar. The tekiah gedolah represents that the pleas of the folks have been attended to.

Festive Lunch

Subsequent to return from synagogue on Rosh Hashanah day, a celebratory lunch is eaten. 

A particular kiddush (prayers over wine), which can be located in the machzor, the festival prayer book, is narrated. Hands are traditionally cleaned. The prayers are made over two complete challah immersed in honey. 

Sweet foodstuffs, and not the bitter or sour foods, are conventionally consumed during the feast 

Getting rid of the sins

It is traditional following the noon prayers on the initial day of Rosh Hashanah, to visit a water body and to figuratively getting rid of one's wrong deeds. This activity is known as Tashlich.

Whilst standing up by the stream, quite a few rhymes taken from the holy books of Micha and Psalms are rehearsed articulating the craving for the wrong deeds to be flown away.

Celebrating the second day

On the next night of Rosh Hashanah, candles must be lit up right away subsequent to the sundown by a live fire of the previous day. 

The sunset feast of the next day of Rosh Hashanah is the similar as the previous night , apart from the Shehechiyanu prayers are narrated over a fresh fruit that has not been consumed till the date. Pomegranates are an accepted alternative for this very fruit in Israel.

The sacraments and the supplications of the second day of Rosh Hashanah are akin to the first day, apart from the alteration in the Torah narrating and the Haphtarah.

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