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Rosh Hashanah: Traditions and holiday meals

Think about any holiday and what usually tops the list? Food, of course! People no doubt associate some of their favorite dishes with the holidays, and Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is upon us making it the perfect time to share a meal with loved ones and friends.

Apples and honey for Rosh Hashana

During Rosh Hashanah, like with many holidays, food is used as a symbol for those who observe the holiday. It’s meant to incorporate spiritual reflection as well as celebration, particularly for the upcoming year.

While customs and recipes vary from family to family, some of the traditional foods of Rosh Hashanah include round foods, stuffed foods, sweet foods and foods with seeds and fish (with the head on to represent the “head” of the new year). You’ll also find leeks, chicken, beets, carrots and squash served during the holiday.

Longstanding traditions and new ones

If you’re interested in beginning your own family meal traditions for the holiday, you might consider some of the following food ideas and recipes.

Round challah: A recognizable symbol of the holiday, this egg bread is formed into a ring for the holiday to symbolize the continuity of creation.

Apples and honey: Honey represents good living and wealth. Often during Rosh Hashanah, apples are dipped into the honey and served as a snack to children. On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, the challah and apples are dipped into the honey with a blessing being said along with prayers for a good and sweet year. Try this recipe for mouthwatering apple cake >>

“New Fruit:” Traditionally, a new fruit would be one that has recently come into season but that has not yet been eaten in the season. It’s eaten on the second night of the holiday. Pomegranate is a traditional fruit for the holiday with the seeds representing all the good deeds to be done in the upcoming year.

This SheKnows recipe for pomegranate salad is a lovely dish to serve with dinner:

Pomegranate SaladPomegranate salad


  • 1 pomegranate
  • 3 cups salad greens
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1 cup black olives sliced
  • 1 cup canned waxed green beans
  • 2 green onions


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of dill weed, dried


  1. Take one pomegranate and cut in half. Put half the pomegranate seeds in a food processor and chop until it makes a paste.
  2. Mix pomegranate paste with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dill weed to make dressing.
  3. On a large plate, spread out lettuce greens. Garnish with black olives, green beans, parsley, green onions and half the pomegranate seeds. Serve with pomegranate salad dressing.

The holidays are the perfect time to share and celebrate with family and friends. While you may reflect fondly on traditions and tastings from the past, you may also enjoy creating new memories and traditions for the future.

Try these dishes to create new traditions

Ricotta stuffed acorn squash
Mother’s noodle kugel
Butternut squash and carrot soup
Glazed roasted chicken with sweet potatoes
Honey glazed carrots
Potato leek soup

Rosh Hashanah Rock Anthem

Get ready for the New Year and Jewish High Holidays with this video.

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