Rosh Hashanah, meaning “Head of the Year” in Hebrew, is the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah celebrations are relatively low-key and family-oriented, especially in comparison to the secular New Year’s Eve or Chinese New Year celebrations. However tame the celebrations may be, they are not without fun and delicious food. Here are some traditional Rosh Hashanah foods to add to your celebration.
Apples and Honey
Eating sweet foods for Rosh Hashanah is said to symbolize a sweet new year. That’s where honey comes in! In Biblical terms, honey was said to represent good living and wealth. To celebrate the new year, apples and challah are dipped into honey and a prayer is said, asking for a sweet new year.
Challah is an egg-based, braided bread. For Rosh HaShanah, it should be shaped into rounds or spirals to symbolize the continuous nature of Creation. It’s also customary to add honey or raisins to sweeten up the bread for Rosh Hashanah.
Honey cakes are generally sweet and include a series of fall spices (such as nutmeg, allspice, cloves, or cinnamon). Some recipes may call for an addition of tea, coffee, rum, or orange juice for a more flavorful cake.
Newly In-Season Fruit
For the second night of Rosh Hashanah, you should eat newly in-season fruit that you have not yet had a chance to eat. Pomegranates are a very popular choice, as they are typically coming into season at this time and are said to contain 613 seeds (to match the 613 mizvot). The shehechiyanu blessing should be said as you eat this new fruit to remind everyone to appreciate being alive to enjoy these gifts.
Since Rosh Hashanah is the head of the year, it is traditional to eat the head of a fish during your meal. Fish symbolizes fertility and abundance, bringing more good vibes into the new year.
If you’re hosting a special Rosh Hashanah meal for your family this year and you’re looking for some new twists on these classics, hire a Kosher Caterer to create a delicious, festive meal for you and your guests. We are wishing you a hear of happiness ahead!