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Rosh Hashana in Canada

Many Jewish Canadians celebrate Rosh Hashana (or Rosh Hashanah), which is also known as the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashana starts on the first day of Tishrei (or Tishri), which is the seventh month in the Jewish calendar, and may last for two days. It is sometimes called the Day of Remembrance or the Day of Blowing the Shofar.

Pomegranate, apple and honey are symbols of Rosh Hashana.
Pomegranates, apples and honey are eaten during Rosh Hashana.
Pomegranates, apples and honey are eaten during Rosh Hashana.
©iStockphoto.com/Victoria German

What Do People Do?

Many Jewish Canadians observe Rosh Hashanah, known as the New Year in the Jewish calendar, for two days, while others celebrate the event for one day. It is a time of family gatherings and special meals. Rosh Hashana commences at nightfall the day before the actual holiday. The celebrations begin after the evening prayer, when family and friends join in to reflect on the past and make a fresh start for the New Year. Jewish Canadians traditionally eat challah bread, pomegranates, and apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashana.

Unlike the secular New Year in the Gregorian calendar (January 1), Rosh Hashana is a time when God reviews and judges a person’s deeds in the past year, according to Jewish belief. It is also a time to look ahead with hope. Many Jewish people in Canada seek forgiveness from friends and family prior to this event. Rosh Hashana (or Rosh Hashanah) greeting cards are also sent at this time of the year.

Another activity that occurs during Rosh Hashana is performing the tashlikh, which involves reciting prayers near naturally flowing water and “throwing sins away” (for example, in the form of bread pieces). The shofar is also blown like a trumpet in the synagogue during this time of the year. Some people of Jewish faith may take the day off work or organize time off during this time of the year, to observe the belief that no work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah.

Public Life

Rosh Hashana is not a national public holiday in Canada. However, many Jewish organizations may be closed or have restricted opening hours on Rosh Hashana.


Rosh Hashana (or Rosh Hashanah) marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year and covers two of the 10 High Holy days that conclude with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Some sources say that the early Jewish calendar had four New Years, corresponding the seasons, with Rosh Hashana being one of the New Years.

Festivals to mark the beginning of a new year in the fall have been held since the earliest days of the Israelites. These took the form of prayers of thanks for the grain harvest. The custom of blowing trumpets on the 10th day of the month of Tishrei is first described in the vision of Ezekiel, a prophet who lived sometime around 600–500 BCE. This custom has continued into modern times.


The challah bread, which is eaten during Rosh Hashana, symbolizes the continuity of life. The apples that are dipped in honey symbolize sweetness and good health throughout the New Year. Some people also eat fish heads, which symbolize their desire to be on top, not the bottom, of life in the New Year. Pomegranates symbolize an abundance of goodness and happiness.

The shofar reminds people of Jewish faith that God allowed Abraham to sacrifice a ram instead of Abraham’s son, Isaac. The tashlikh is an act that symbolizes throwing one’s sins in the water, so people believe that they are freed from their sins.

About Rosh Hashana in other countries

Read more about Rosh Hashana.

Rosh Hashana Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.
WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
ThuSep 92010Rosh HashanaJewish holiday 
ThuSep 292011Rosh HashanaJewish holiday 
MonSep 172012Rosh HashanaJewish holiday 
ThuSep 52013Rosh HashanaJewish holiday 
ThuSep 252014Rosh HashanaJewish holiday 
MonSep 142015Rosh HashanaJewish holiday 
MonOct 32016Rosh HashanaJewish holiday 
ThuSep 212017Rosh HashanaJewish holiday 
MonSep 102018Rosh HashanaJewish holiday 
MonSep 302019Rosh HashanaJewish holiday 
SatSep 192020Rosh HashanaJewish holiday 

Quick Facts

Rosh Hashana, also spelled Rosh Hashanah, is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. The event begins on the first day of Tishrei (or Tishri), which is the seventh month in the Jewish calendar.

Rosh Hashana 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Rosh Hashana 2016

Monday, October 3, 2016


Name in other languages

Rosh HashanaEnglish
Rosh HashanahFrench
Rosch ha-Schana (jüdisches Neujahr)German
Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.

List of dates for other years

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Fun Holiday on September 14, 2015

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