A two-day festival in commemoration of the creation of the world, Rosh Hashanah is the Jews New Year celebration. Known as ‘The Days of Repentence’, it is a time when Jews ask for God’s forgiveness as he weighs up their good and bad deeds across the past year and determines their fate for the year ahead. During Rosh Hashanah, Jews visit synagogues to reflect deeply on their priorities in life, asking themselves who and what mean the most to them, what they have achieved thus far in life and what are their hopes and wishes for the future.
One important ritual that takes place in the synagogues during Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the shafar (ram’s horn trumpet). This is played in a special rhythm for one hundred notes. After the shafar has been sounded, families return to their homes to enjoy a special meal together. Along with a number of traditional dishes, a pomegranate is often included on the table in respect of the Jewish tradition that the pomegranate has 613 seeds – one for each of the commandments that Jews vow to keep. The sounding of the shafar marks the beginning of ‘The Days of Awe’ – a ten-day period which ends with the festival of Yom Kippur.
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