Every festive occasion is branded with its own distinct greeting, whether it be a “Wish you a merry Christmas” or be it an “Eid Mubarak”. Every different religion has their own celebration of New Year according to the traditional calendar. The Jewish New Year also called as Rosh Hashanah, is celebrated around the last few weeks of September and may extend into October. This October, make sure you are prepared with just the right words for the Jewish New Year, with the native phrase used for Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah translates from Hebrew to mean "start of the year," and the holiday is celebrated by services in a synagogue, as well as traditional holiday meals with family. Rosh Hashanah is not traditionally a gift-giving holiday but if you are invited to someone's home and want to bring something, sweet foods make thoughtful Rosh Hashanah gifts.
This first week of October marks the beginning of The Jewish New year, more popularly known as Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is a celebration that continues for two days, beginning on the first day of Tishrie, the first month of the Jewish civil year. Rosh Hashanah is also popularly known as the Feast of Trumpets. The biblical name for the same being- Yom Teruh. The Jewish New year marks the beginning of the High Holy days occurring in the early season of Autumn.
Happy Rosh Hashanah Greetings
The Yamim Nora'im in the month of Elul, is the event of repentance, penance during which Jews retrospect their actions. Rosh Hashanah embarks at the closure of ten days of Yamim Nora’im. During the period of Yamim Nora’im which translates to "days of awe", penitential prayers called selichot are hymned.
The evening before Rosh Hashanah day is known as Erev Rosh Hashanah which translates literally into Rosh Hashanah eve. Erev Rosh Hashanah falls on the first day of Tishrei – he first day of the Hebrew calendar. The Hebrew calendar begins only after the sun has set, so the Erev Rosh Hashanah and Rosh Hashanah end up being celebrated on the same day. A nullification ritual for vows- Hatarat Nedarim is performed after the morning prayer during the morning on the last day of month of Elul, which concludes at sundown, marking the beginning of Erev Rosh Hashanah.
Traditional Rosh Hashanah Greetings
On the Judgement day, called as “Yom Hadin” celebrated as Rosh Hashanah; the book of life, the book of death and the book for the one living with non-evil sins are opened and the final judgement is passed from the commencement of Yom Kippur. By praying for forgiveness and forgoing one’s sins, one can penance for the seal of life. The last of the High holy days ends with the holiday of Yom Kippur.
One of the famous tradition during Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of Shofar. Shofar is blown on each morning during the morning of entire month for Elul, just before Rosh Hashanah. The shofar sound is symbolic to call out to the followers from their slumber and warn them of the upcoming judgement day so they can repent for their sins and ask for forgiveness to be included in the book of life.
Now that we have understood the entire festival of Rosh Hashanah, let’s learn what is the right custom to greet someone during this Jewish New year.
Happy Rosh Hashanah Greetings | Jewish New Year Greetings 2016
The most common way to greet someone during Rosh Hashanah is to use the Hebrew greeting –
Shanah Tovah - Hebrew: שנה טובה) (pronounced [ʃaˈna toˈva]) which literally translates to Have a good year. Often the Jewish new year is marked by consuming sweets and caramelized apples dipped in honey to symbolize a sweet year.
To greet someone “A good and sweet year”, Shanah Tovah Umetukah (Hebrew: שנה טובה ומתוקה) can be used on Rosh Hashanah.
If you come from a religious and an orthodox Jew family, a more traditional way of greeting someone before Rosh Hashnan would be Ketivah VaChatimah Tovah (Hebrew: כְּתִיבָה וַחֲתִימָה טוֹבָה), which translates into “A good inscription and sealing [in the Book of Life]".
Another way to greet someone on Rosh Hashnan would be to call out L'shanah tovah tikatevu v'tichatemu which translates into "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year".
After Rosh Hashanah ends till Yom Kippur concludes, the greeting is changed to G’mar chatimah tovah (Hebrew: גמר חתימה טובה) which translates to "May you be written and sealed for a good year".
After Yom Kippur is over, until Hoshana Rabbah, as Sukkot ends, the greeting is Gmar Tov (Hebrew: גְּמָר טוֹב), "a good conclusion".
Many a times, the Yiddish version of the greeting is also used for Rosh Hashnan. The most common way of greeting someone is “A gut gebentsht yohr,” which translates into “A good and blessed year” (א גוט געבענטשט יאהר). But as the tradition dictates, the Jews believe that the fate is not sealed till one goes through by the book of judgement, the customary salutation in Yiddish for that day is “A gutten kvittl” (א גוט'ן קוויטל), “Have a good inscription.”
The formal Sephardic greeting is Tizku Leshanim Rabbot ("may you merit many years"), to which the answer isNe'imot VeTovot ("pleasant and good ones"). It often happens that people will use phrases like “many years” in local language to wish each other informally.
For the traditional ones, coming from the blessing, y'hi ratzon mil'fanekha adonai eloheinu vei'lohei avoteinu sh't'chadeish aleinu shanah tovah u'm'tukah, meaning "may it be Your will, God our God and God of our ancestors, to renew us for a good and sweet year,” shanah tovah and shanah tovah umetukah, meaning "a good year" and "a good and sweet year," respectively, are appropriate.
In conclusion, even if you wish your Jewish friend, a simple Happy New Year during the Rosh Hashanah week they appreciate the effort that you put in getting to know more about The Jewish traditions. Even wishing people “Happy Rosh Hashanah” wouldn’t sound out of place but make sure that you wish them on that very specific day.
Enjoy your Jewish New Year!!!