Judaism: Festivals And Traditional Practices

Aside from views and beliefs, different religions across the world differ mainly on practices and traditional celebrations. If you tell someone that you are a ‘religious’ person, the first thing that will come to one’s mind is that you follow your religion’s practices, according to how should they be done and how frequent should they be accomplished.

As of 2017, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the whole world. One of the most famous religions, Judaism has its roots back to 1800B.C.E. Early people practicing its beliefs were the ancient Hebrews and the Jews. People in this religious group believe in one divine being, the transcendental God that revealed himself to Abraham, Moses and the highest prophets.

Source: myjewishlearning.com

The Jews have a lot of exciting traditions they practice. As mentioned, Judaism is considered as one of the oldest religion in the world, with Moses believed to be the primary founder. Still, these festivals are still observed by roughly 13 million followers in the world.

 

Below are the main Jewish festivals and the way they are being celebrated in the modern world nowadays:

 

Rosh Hashanah (The New Year)

History:

The Jewish people believe that their God weighs the bad and good deeds each of them has done for the year, and determine what will come for the new and coming days.

 

How It Is Celebrated:

Source: myjewishlearning.com

Also called Judgement Day, Jewish people take time to reflect their past actions, evaluating their deeds done for the year and taking time to balance their good and bad deeds.

Special meals are also served on this holy day; mainly the apple dipped in honey and other sweet food for a sweet New Year. Jews also extend new year greetings and wishes as a custom.

 

Yom Kippur (The Day Of Atonement)

Ten days since the beginning of Rosh Hashanah will immediately follow the celebration called Yom Kippur where the Jews fast for 25 hours. It is when they ask for forgiveness after the reflection during Rosh Hashanah.

 

How It Is Celebrated:

Many wear the symbol of purity – the color of white. There are things that they do not do on this day. They strictly observe the following:

-no sex

-no bathing

-no putting of makeup

-no wearing of leather shoes

-no wearing of perfume

-no eating and drinking for 25 hours.

A ram’s horn trumpet called Shofar also plays a hundred notes arranged in a special rhythm to mark the end of the day.

 

Hannukah (Festival Of Lights)

History:

This festival traces back its roots before the beginning of Christianity. The Festival of Lights is celebrated to reminisce the lighting of a lamp after a three-year war of the Jews to reclaim Jerusalem from the Syrians. The war started when Syrian King Antiochus ordered the Jewish people to worship Greek Gods and bow down before the King’s statue erected on a Jewish temple.

Upon the repair of the said temple at the end of the war, they lighted a lamp to symbolize God’s presence. The lamp miraculously stayed lighted for eight days despite the small amount of oil it was found with.

 

How It Is Celebrated:

Source: sf.funcheap.com

One candle from eight-stemmed candelabrum(Hanukkah or Menorah) is lighted each day (for eight days) as it symbolizes how God looked after and gave light to the Jewish people at their darkest days.

Games are also played, particularly the gambling game called dreidel. It stemmed from the story of how those people, who wanted to learn Torah (illegal at the time of Antiochus), would conceal their illegal deed by playing gambling games with a top every time an officer was around.

 

Other Jewish Practices

Many Jews also celebrate Shabbat every Friday night until Saturday. It is the time when they stop working to provide time for God and their respective families. They also attend synagogue to listen to different parts of the Torah as being read every week.