Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, which is celebrated for two days in either the month of September or the month of October, depending on the year. They are the first two days found on the Jewish calendar.
When Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah, it can be both a joyful time and a solemn time. When Jewish persons go to synagogue during this time, they are often praying for forgiveness for their sins of the past year. This theme is stressed greatly just 10 days later, on Yom Kippur.
Dinners during Rosh Hashanah are almost always joyful. The foods offered focus on the sweet, in hopes that those consuming the food will have a sweet New Year. Fruits, sweet vegetables and honey abound in Jewish dishes for Rosh Hashanah. Even their main dishes on these days contain many of these items. Many believe that these menu items were created for the kids who are celebrating.
Happiness = Honey
Custom on Rosh Hashanah sprinkles honey into the mix liberally. You can find many traditional recipes with honey, like honey cakes. However, honey is also used during the main courses of the meal. Honey can often be found as a dip during this celebration, with items like apples and challah being dipped to start off the meal.
Honey holds a deep meaning to Jews, as in the bible Israel is described as the “Land of Milk and Honey”. This, of course, meant it was a prosperous land. Honey symbolizes the good life, even today.
Wealth = Carrots
You will find carrots in the meals served for Rosh Hashanah since they represent prosperity. If you look at a bowl of carrot slices, they resemble a bowl full of gold coins. Recipes exist that use carrots as a garnish, as a main entrée and as a side dish for the Rosh Hashanah meal.
Other vegetables you will often seen used are the sweet potato and summer squash. Again, this is due to their sweet taste. Many times these vegetables are sweetened even more with a honey glaze.
Sweet Future = Fruits
Apples dipped in honey are a common tradition during the Rosh Hashanah feasts. However, other fruits are often served during the meal. Fruit can appear anywhere, even in the main dish. Many fruits are served cooked, and fruits like prunes can even be cooked into a stew!