Jewish New Year
Rosh Hashanah, marking the beginning of the month Tishrei, is celebrated as the Jewish New Year. Meaning 'Head of the Year' in Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah, is the first most important auspicious occasion and High Holiday on the Hebrew calendar.
Celebrated with great new optimism and scrupulous conscience for two days, Rosh Hashanah is religiously and traditionally observed as the most important, judicious, and optimistic occasion of the Hebrew calendar year, on which all the people of the world pass for magnificent judgment before the most judicious and compassionate Creator, quite similar as the sheep pass for rigorous examination before the censorious shepherd.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most auspicious and revered High Holidays of the Hebrew calendar year, and are collectively called the Yamim Noraim, meaning the "Days of Awe". Yom Kippur comes just after ten days from the start of Rosh Hashanah, in the same seventh month of Hebrew calendar, Tishrei.
With observance on the first two days of Tishrei, Rosh Hashanah offers a long prayer (described and compiled in Makhzor) which generally takes place from the early morning to the afternoon. Although the Tishrei is the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, the Hebrew New Year starts with the beginning of this month, because Jews believed that it is the month in which God created the Universe. It is the reason for observing Rosh Hashanah as the birthday of the world or Universe. Nissan is the first month of the Hebrew calendar.
Rosh Hashanah generally occurs in between the time September 5 and October 5 of the Gregorian calendar. Again, it begins in the evening (sunset), and does not ever occur on any Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday any year. In the year 2015 (Jewish calendar 5774), Rosh Hashanah occurs between September 13 and 15. While it will be observed in between the time October 2 and October 4, in the year 2016, which corresponds to the Jewish calendar 5775.
Jewish New Year Celebration
During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, there are performed honest and sincere prayers (described in Mahzorim), unbiased introspection, repentance (teshuvah), casting off the previous sins (Tashlich), and joyful celebrations of the new year. Blowing Shofar is traditionally and essentially connected with the celebration of Rosh Hashanah. The frequent and unique blasts of Shofar are meant to avert the lethargy of all the listeners, and make them fully awake to the God's judgment.
Apples and honey are the traditional food items during the Rosh Hashanah celebrations. Well wishing and sending New Year greeting cards (now e-cards have become commonplace, among people having access to Internet) are the most common and popular way of celebrating the new year among Jews, saying "L' Shanah Tovah".