Last weekend, a friend invited us to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.
Having never celebrated it before, I did some quick online research and found that Rosh Hashanah literally means the head of the year and commemorates the anniversary of the creation of the world. I also discovered the traditional gift is a honey pot (good to know).
We were welcomed by the sweet smell of chicken, kugel and carrot Tzimmes. When dinner was ready, we (along with about 12 other guests) gathered around the table and listened to our hostesses explain the significance of the food on the table (see below).
Round Challah: Symbolizes a perfect year to come. Sometimes raisins or honey can be added to make it extra sweet.
Apples & Honey: Dip the apples in honey to symbolize the wish for a sweet year to come.
Head of Fish: Symbolizes fertility and abundance. The head of the fish symbolizes the New Year, as well as the hope that the Jewish people will lead other nations through their righteous acts.
Head of Lamb: Symbolizes the hope that the Jewish people will lead other nations through their righteousness.
Tzimmes: Carrots symbolize the hope to increase good deeds in the coming year.
Spinach: Symbolizes a green year with plenty of produce.
Rice: Symbolizes abundance.
The food and company could not have been better. Chase thoroughly enjoyed herself. She didn't want to miss a thing - but around the fourth course, her eyelids became too heavy and she just couldn't keep them open.
I left the festivities full, happy and wondering why there isn't more symbolism to the New Year we celebrate. Sure, there are parties (symbolizing celebration of the old year and new year), and then there's watching the ball drop in Times Square (symbolizing a count down), but that's really about it. Sure it's fun, but it just feels like it's missing something.
So I have decided that I will just have to create my own New Year traditions, borrowing bits and pieces from other countries and religions that I have been exposed to and enjoy most.