Again, I am not Jewish but I do seem to study Jewish rituals and traditions enough. I have never personally celebrated Rosh Hashanah, so all of the information in this post (& over photo) comes from Chabbad.org & MyJewishLearning.com.
Like most holidays, it is typical to have a big meals. Specifically for the Jewish New Year, two big meals are had on both nights of Rosh HaShanah. For 2017, the holiday falls on Wednesday evening, September, to Friday evening, September 22nd (tonight). The three most known food items associated with Rosh HaShanah are apples, honey, and a round loaf of challah. Therefore many of the other items eaten during these two days that also incorporate these items.
Read more at My Jewish Learning: Rosh Hashanah Traditional Foods and Recipe
Apples, Honey, & Challah
The apple symbolizes the Garden of Eden and the sweetness of Adam and Eve being in G-d’s presence without sin. Although the forbidden fruit of the garden is never mentioned, it has been kind of religious and art historical tradition to depict it as an apple-like fruit (this applies to Christian mythology also).
The sweetness of the fruit, along with the honey, also point towards the hope for a “sweet” year to come. The apples are traditionally dipped in honey and then eaten, but there are a ton of very delicious recipes I have stumbled upon with apple and honey cooked into it (like honey and apple cakes, yum!). Now that it is moving into fall I think I might have to try some of these out!
Challah is eaten at every Shabbat meal, however, this challah loaf is different because it is round. The shape symbolizes a couple of different things:
- Cycle of the seasons throughout the years
- A crown = the kingship of G-d
- Repentance for self-improvement (sounds like New Year resolutions huh!?)
Each of the foods on a Rosh HaShanah seder has a symbolic meaning associated with a wish or blessing for the new year. Each item’s significance is actually associated with a pun on that food’s name in Hebrew. Some of these food items are: pomegranate, date, string-bean, beet, pumpkin, leek, and fish head.
Best wishes for a sweet new year!