Rosh Hashanah, a religious and festive holiday celebrated by those in the Jewish faith begins this Friday evening, September 15, and runs through sundown on Sunday evening.

If you're not Jewish, here are some things to know if you'd like to show your Jewish friends some respect and support this weekend.

First, Rosh Hashanah is both religious and festive for Jews when family and friends come together for meals and worship over a two-day celebration of the coming New Year. It's also a time in the faith for people to grow closer to God.

Rosh Hashanah literally translates to “head of the year” in Hebrew. It is observed on the first and second days of the Jewish month of Tishrei, the first month in the civil calendar.

The holiday can be found in the Bible's Old Testament in the Book of Numbers. The Lord commanded the children of Israel to blow the trumpets in celebration on the first day of the seventh month.

And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you.

Numbers 29:1

Here are eight traditions people in the Jewish faith participate in to celebrate their new year.

Candle Lighting - Women and girls light candles each night at specific times and say prayers. Visit for the specific prayer times for your area.

The Blowing of the Shofar (or horn of a Ram)

Tashlich (or throw way your sins)

Try something new - like a new hobby or a new style of clothing.

Rosh Hashanah Cards

And last but certainly not least, Rosh Hashanah meals every night and day of the holiday. Traditional meals meals and food include:

  • Sliced apples dipped in honey (Sweet - avoid bitter and sour foods, anticipating a sweet year)
  • Pomegranate
  • Challah Bread
  • Gefilte Fish
  • Carrots

The foods, prayers, and traditions are very symbolic focusing on what is hoped to be a positive (or sweet) upcoming new year. So, if you come across a Jewish friend this weekend, be sue to wish them a Happy New Year.

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