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Rosh Hashana in Australia

Many Jewish Australians 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 the Sounding of the Shofar.

A meal set on a table for Rosh Hashana.
Apples, pomegranates and honey are traditional foods eaten during Rosh Hashana.
Apples, pomegranates and honey are traditional foods eaten during Rosh Hashana.

What Do People Do?

Rosh Hashana (Rosh Hashanah) is one of the holiest days of the year for many Jewish Australians. It is known as the New Year in the Jewish calendar. Some Jewish communities celebrate the event for two days, while others celebrate it for one day.

Rosh Hashana differs to the New Year in the Gregorian calendar (January 1) in that 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, and for personal growth and reflection. It is also customary for some people to visit deceased loved ones at cemeteries on the eve of the holiday.

Many Jewish families gather for special meals to celebrate Rosh Hashana, which 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. The challah bread, pomegranates, and apples dipped in honey, and carrot stew are popular dishes during Rosh Hashana. Some people eat fish during Rosh Hashana, while others abstain from fish.

Many Jewish Australians spend their time in the synagogue at some stage during Rosh Hashanah. The shofar is blown like a trumpet in the synagogue during this time of the year. Another activity that occurs during Rosh Hashana is performing the casting ritual (tashlikh), which involves reciting prayers near naturally flowing water and “throwing sins away” (for example, in the form of bread pieces).  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 federal public holiday in Australia. 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.

Jewish Australians across the country celebrate Rosh Hashana each year. Judaism came to Australia with the first European settlers in the nation. The 2006 Australian census recorded nearly 89,000 people of Jewish faith in Australia, which was an increase of nearly six percent since the 2001 Australian census.


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 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rosh Hashana 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018


Name in other languages

Rosh HashanaEnglish
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

Related holiday

Other holidays in September 2017 in Australia

United Nation Holiday on September 21, 2017

Fun Holiday on September 21, 2017

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