Rosh Hashana (ראש השנה)
Rosh Hashana is the holiday that marks the beginning of a new year in the Hebrew calendar. Rosh Hashana is celebrated as a two-day holiday on the first two days of the Hebrew month Tishrei (see Hebrew Calendar). Like other Jewish holidays, the Rosh HaShana celebration begins the evening before the first day.
The word rosh (ראש) in Hebrew means 'head' or 'beginning', and the word shana (שנה) means 'year' as a noun. The 'ha-' prefix is the definite article similar to 'the' in English. As a verb, the word שנה, means to repeat or to change.
Rosh Hashana marks the beginning of ten days of repentance (עשרת ימי תשובה) that culminate with the Yom Kippur (יום כיפור), the day of judgment for the new year.
The prayer book for the New Year is called Mahzor Rosh HaShana (מחזור ראש השנה). Most of the text of the prayer book is a praise of the Almighty, remembrance of his actions, and his commandments.
Mention of Rosh Hashana in the Torah
- And in the seventh month, on the first day, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work. It shall be a day of shofar sounding for you.