Rosh ha-Shanah celebrates the Jewish New Year. According to oral tradition, it marks the day on which the creation of the world was completed. In English, it means literally “head of the year.”
The fall holiday is joyous, but it is also a time for self-reflection: on this “day of judgment,” as the holiday is also known, practicing Jews look back on the year behind them. The ten days between Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur are a period of personal reflection, prayer, charity, repentance and asking for forgiveness. Rosh ha-Shanah also has festive components: the shofar, generally made from a horn of a ram or a kudu, is blown, apples are dipped in honey and eaten, and people wish their loved ones a “sweet” new year.