This evening the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashana started. It is the Jewish New Year. It lasts for 3 days and is followed by Yom Kippur 10 days later, which is much more serious.
My family is not religious but I love holidays because I love special themed holiday food and family gatherings. Rosh Hashana is no exception. There are delicious foods full of symbolism. Here are my three favourite symbolic Rosh Hashana foods:
Apples with Honey!
Apples dipped in honey are delicious! This is probably the best known food associated with Rosh Hashana. It is an amazing combination of flavours and every year I am reminded that I really need to partake in this treat year round.
This favourite is also a very symbolic treat. Eating this sweet treat ensures that you will have a sweet new year – Shana Metuka!
Whole Fish – With the head on!
I love fish and definitely think North Americans don’t eat enough of it. Growing up in a Jewish family, fish was always part of any family gathering or celebration and it seems my family had an endless supply of recipes to prepare fish in exciting and delicious ways.
In the case of Rosh Hashana, the fish is meant to be served whole with the head still attached. Eating the head of the fish ensures that in the new year you will always be ahead and not behind (a-HEAD! Get it?)
The pomegranate is a delicious fruit that’s maybe a tad frustrating to eat. Nonetheless it is HUGE in Israel in the fall. There is a ton of biblical symbolism when it comes to pomegranates (seriously, go google it) and it’s a favourite used in many Middle Eastern recipes.
As for Rosh Hashana specifically, a pomegranate’s many sweet seeds symbolize the many wondrous deeds and successes you will reap in the new year. Eating pomegranate ensures you’ll have a year of plenty!
Check out this video of how to deseed a pomegranate. I’ll have to try this next time!
These were my three favourite symbolic Rosh Hashana foods. I bet you didn’t know that Jewish holidays are full of delicious foods and hilarious puns.
When you see your Jewish friends next, wish them Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday), and Shana Tova Ve Metuka (A good and sweet year).
Want to read more? Check out this post about how we celebrate Chrismukkah in our inter-cultural family.
I want to hear from you! What are your favourite holidays and holiday foods? Leave a comment and let us know!