שנה טובה shana tova
What do apples, honey and fish heads have in common? If you say that they are all the symbols for the same holiday that is correct! The holiday is Rosh HaShana the Jewish New Year. Other symbols include pomegranate and the shofar.
Rosh HaShana is traditionally the Jewish New Year. Sometimes it is referred to as the Feast of Trumpets because on this day, the shofar is sounded from the synagogue. This is meant to be a wake up call to examine ones deeds, make emends and make things right with God because on this day God pulls out His three books. In one book is recorded the names of the righteous. There is also a book filled with the names of the wicked. The third book is called the book of life. The righteous names automatically get transferred to the book of life but everyone else has ten days to examine their deeds and ask God for His pardon. There is even a tradition called "tashlich" in which people gather around a river to recite prayers and throw pebbles, bread crumbs or coins into the running water to symbolize throwing off their sins. Ten days after Rosh HaShana is Yom Kipur, or the Day of Atonement in which you are sealed for one year; you are either in or you are out.
Rosh HaShana is a time for big family meals and to bless friends and family with your good wishes. Some people send out Rosh HaShana cards full of good wishes for the new year or instead some spend the whole day before making phone call wishes. A typical Rosh HaShana wish is "May your name be written and sealed for a good year." There are also traditional wishes for good health, happiness and a prosperous year.
רוש של דג Fish head- Well after all it is the HEAD of the year! You think I am joking? The fish head is a wish that you will be a head (not a tail) in the year ahead. Literally, Rosh HaShana means head of the year.
רימון Pomegranate- Have you ever tried to eat a pomegranate? There are about a billion juicy little seeds inside. So the pomegranate is a wish that your blessings in the new year will be as numerous as the number of seeds crowded inside a pomegranate.
תפוח Apple- To be dipped into honey to represent a wish for a super sweet year.
דבש Honey- A wish for a sweet year ahead
שופר Shofar- On each of the two days of Rosh HaShana the shofar is sounded 100 times. Now that's a wake up call!
Below is a link to a beautiful song about going to seek mercy by a very famous Israeli singer. I couldn't find the English translation anywhere so below is the translation to the best of my ability.
The Mercy Gate
I am going around an old city
And there is noise in all the corners
I already know
I already know my way
The way to the gate of mercy
No looking around
I will have dreams
It is always like this
I know my way
I know my way to the gate of mercy.
Live once only once
With trial; without trial
With strength; without strength
Come with me
Come because of your fear
Because you are also part
Of this gate
Banners on the shops
People watching in the street
Inside, my heart is shouting
Show me the way to the mercy gate