A Jewish worshipper blows a Shofar, a lamb or antelope horn, at the west Wall, Judaism"s holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem"s Old City on September 3, 2013, ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new Year. Ammar Awad/Reuters
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Though new Year"s fireworks and also celebrations are still an ext than three months away, the Jewish brand-new year come Wednesday night. Because that those who space unfamiliar with Rosh Hashanah, one of the most important holidays in Judaism, below are some basic questions asked and also answered.

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Why is it called Rosh Hashanah? In Hebrew rosh has plenty of meanings, consisting of "head" or "first" or "start," and shanah method "year," through ha simply definition "the." In combination, the name of the holiday translates as "head the the year."

When does it start and also end? In 2017, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown Wednesday, September 20, and ends with nightfall Friday, September 22. Technically, the vacation is September 21 and also 22—the an initial and 2nd days that the month Tishrei on the Jewish calendar—but in Judaism, the day begins at sundown the former night. That"s why the Sabbath every week begins at sundown Friday and also continues until nightfall Saturday. So Wednesday is Erev Rosh Hashanah, or Rosh Hashanah eve, and also marks the start of the holiday.

What year is starting on the Jewish calendar? This year"s celebration marks the start of the year 5778 on the Jewish calendar and marks the number of years because the human being was created, at least according come the story recounted in Genesis, the an initial book of the Hebrew scriptures (what christians would speak to the Old Testament). The day chin is the anniversary that the work the first man and also woman, Adam and also Eve, were created.

Why is the exact day of Rosh Hashanah different each year? All Jewish holidays are celebrated, unsurprisingly, follow to the Jewish calendar, which does no directly match the Gregorian calendar supplied in the united States and also in many countries about the world. In Israel, both are thought about official calendars, however everyday life is performed using the Gregorian calendar, except among those that are really religious. Therefore while the holidays are marked on the same day every year according to the Jewish calendar, the day on the Gregorian calendar differs.

The Jewish calendar is lunisolar, or based on the cycles the the sun, about which the planet orbits every 365 days, and also the moon, which goes v a dozen waxing and waning cycles every approximately 354 days. Due to the fact that a lunar month lasts around 29.53 days, every month top top the Jewish calendar is either 29 or 30 days long. A continual year ~ above the Jewish calendar, therefore, is around 11 days shorter than a full solar year. In stimulate to deal with the discrepancy and ensure that spiritual observances and seasons happen approximately the same time the year, it has actually its own version of a leap year. However, instead of adding one day to February, the adds a 13th month every two or 3 years (or exactly seven times every 19 years).

How is the vacation celebrated? What space the traditions? The traditions of Rosh Hashanah include the sounding of the shofar, i m sorry is the horn of a ram or another animal. This often happens at a synagogue as component of prayer services. Numerous Jews attend much longer synagogue services that encompass extra readings and prayers and also festive meals. Transparent the High Holidays, Jews recite Selichot, unique prayers that ask forgiveness. Top top the eve of Rosh Hashanah, households light candles in your homes, reciting the candle blessing and also the Kiddush (a blessing end wine), and also HaMotzi (a blessing over bread). It additionally is customary to execute a ceremony referred to as Tashlich where Jews go to a surrounding body of water and also throw bread crumbs right into it, symbolically casting away one"s guilty from the vault year.

Many that these traditions are shared amongst different motions in Judaism, including Reform, Conservative and also Orthodox communities. However, which legacies are observed and also precisely how they are observed varies from community to community and also from family to family. For some secular Jewish families, the main occasion is the collection of friends and family for a enjoy the meal that attributes traditional and symbolic foods, while more observant Jews will certainly adhere an ext closely come the other spiritual customs.

What do Jews eat top top Rosh Hashanah? The new year is marked with a slew of foodstuffs including some combination of: apologize dipped in honey; love husband cakes; round challah bread loaves; pomegranates; the head that a fish; dates; leeks or cabbage; swiss chard or beets; Haricots verts or eco-friendly beans or black-eyed peas; and also a gourd or squash.

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How execute you great someone a happy new year? You have the right to say Shanah Tova, which translates literally together "good year," or Leshana tovah, which means "to a an excellent year." friend can also say Shanah tova u"metuka, which method "good and sweet year."

What space the High Holidays or High holy Days?The High Holidays start with Rosh Hashanah and end through Yom Kippur, i m sorry this year will certainly be it was observed September 30 (beginning the evening of September 29). The duration between the two is sometimes referred to together the Ten job of Repentance, due to the fact that it is the time during which humankind is judged based on its deeds throughout the ahead year as well as a time when individuals reflect and make amends.