Monday, September 17, 2012

New Year in Israel

Pomegranates are eaten at Rosh haShana to symbolize the wish that people's good deeds will be as plentiful as the  seeds of a pomegranate.

In Israel the new year is celebrated twice. On the eve of December 31st, like the rest of the world, and on Rosh haShana - the Jewish "Head of the Year".

But actually only secular Jews go and party on the 31st of December. And usually it is the kind of people who needs only half a reason for a party! The 1st of January is not a holiday, so the most of us just see the new calender year in by watching a few news reports from around the world.

The real Israeli new year takes place on Rosh HaShana. Usually in September, a few weeks after the children have gone back to school. The entire country takes a break for two days and one spends a LOT of your time eating food!

Many of the food stuffs that are eaten are sweet. To symbolize the hope that the coming year will be a sweet year. My favourite Rosh haShana dish is apples dipped in honey - this is amazingly delicious! One also eats honey cake, honey cookies, sweet challah and pomegranates.

Rosh haShana is festive time in Israel with a wonderful holiday feeling but it is actually a very serious Jewish holiday. According to Jewish religion God decides during the days leading up to Rosh haShana and Yom Kippur who will die and who will live in the new year. This is a time of looking carefully at your life, making amends and deciding where you can improve or work harder in the coming year.

Everyone wishes everybody a sweet and good new year. It is also the Jewish holiday that friends, family, companies, banks and businesses send you Rosh haShana greeting cards.

So here is my Rosh haShana greeting to you, wherever you are in the world:
"May God grant you a happy, healthy and sweet new year!"

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