Rosh Hashanah is what is commonly referred to as the Jewish New Year. The Jewish faith actually has upwards of four New Year celebrations as they breakdown the different aspects of life into different celebrations. For the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah it the celebration of the new year for people, animals, and legal contracts. It is the first of the Jewish high holidays for the year and it is a solemn time for the Jewish people when they are supposed to re-examine themselves and repent for any of the wrongs they have committed in the previous year. It is a widely celebrated Jewish holiday and each person of the Jewish faith is required to spend the first day of Rosh Hashanah in Temple after sun down and observe a period of fasting. Rosh Hashanah’s date on the Gregorian calendar happens somewhere between September 5 and October 5 depending on how the Jewish calendar and the Gregorian calendar coincide for that particular year. It is a two day celebration.
The most solemn Jewish holiday on the calendar is Yom Kippur. It is a holiday based solely around repentance and atonement and is celebrated with 25 hours of fasting and very intensive prayer. Yom Kippur usually happens for a 25 hour period in October and is marked by the sun going down and ends in the night of the next day. For this Jewish holiday people are told there is no eating and drinking, you cannot wear leather shoes, there is no bathing, you are to anoint yourself with oils and lotions, and there is absolutely no intimacy with your husband or wife. It is a very strict and solemn holiday where everyone in the Jewish faith is to take a long look within themselves and try to take steps to make themselves a better person.
Hanukkah is also referred to as the Festival Of Lights because of the eight candles of the menorah the get lit during the celebration. It can happen anywhere from late November to late December but it usually falls somewhere in mid to late December. Hanukkah is basically a celebration to re-dedicate the Temple after it was desecrated by ancient kings and other rulers that persecuted the Jewish people. Hanukkah was decreed to be an eight day celebration back in ancient times and it has stayed that way up to modern day. There are many customs associated with Hanukkah with the lighting of candles being the main custom for many families. Customs can vary from family to family but primarily there is one candle lit for each day of Hanukkah and then sometimes even one lit for each member of the family on each day of Hanukkah as well. Traditional prayers are said during each day and traditional meals are eaten. It is a time for the Jewish people to celebrate their claiming of their Temples back from those that would persecute them and many Jewish families engage in some wonderful Hanukkah traditions.