Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish celebration of the New Year. The literal translation of the name is “head of the year,” or “first of the year.” Unlike the traditional Christian calendar that was adopted after the fall of the Roman Empire, the beginning of the Jewish year starts in the fall, during the Hebrew month of Tishri.
It doesn’t have the festive feeling that Americans associate with new year celebrations. It is the start of the Jewish Days of Awe and leads up to the most solemn holiday of the religion: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection, for thinking about the things that people have done wrong, and trying to figure out how to right those wrongs. It is a time when people reflect on how their lives could be better, and they may resolutions to do things to make it better.
Because Rosh Hashanah is celebrated in fall, many of the traditions associated with the holiday are connected to this time of the year. Orthodox and Conservative Jews don’t work on Yom Kippur and spend the day in the synagogue, which begins with the sounding of the Shofar, a musical instrument made out of a hollowed out Ram’s horn.
Another Jewish tradition, and an important one, involves paying respects to elderly family members or people in the community, who are hospitalized or confined to nursing homes or other facilities and unable to take part in family celebrations or religious services or other observances held at temples.
It doesn’t matter if these people are complete strangers; the goal is to unite the Jewish community and help the elderly or ill, feel a sense of connection with the Jewish community they live in. Cheer them up by bringing brightly colored flowers in a colorful vase or a plant that flowers, or one with the rich earthy colors of autumn. Griffins Floral Design has two perfect arrangements: Petite Sunrise Sunset or Shining Surprise.
The most important traditions of Rosh Hashanah involve eating apples, honey and Challah, a yummy Jewish egg bread that is braided, and sometimes shaped into a circle because there is no end. Traditionally, tables are set with white table cloths and napkins as a symbol of a new beginning, fresh start and cleanliness.
If you want to bring flowers for a table, they should be pastel-colored or light colored like the Orchids by Design arrangement. White flowers are usually reserved for Yom Kippur.
When invited to someone’s house for Rosh Hashanah, you can also bring food, especially seasonal fruits, which you’ll find in the Fruits, Nuts and Plants basket. Another excellent choice would be the Chocolate basket because Jews eat sweet foods on Rosh Hashanah because they believe that doing so may sweeten the new year.