There are just 3 weeks until Rosh Hashanah (evening of Sunday, September 16 until sundown Tuesday, September 18). If you haven’t started planning, now it the time to do it!
I have done most of the things on my early prep list. That means clothing and pjs ordered for the kids, seats at shul bought, etc. I still have to buy something for me–that’s one of the hardest things, I think!
Now it’s time to menu plan! On Rosh Hashanah, we have different minhagim about what foods we eat to make a yehi ratzon (May it be Your will…) on, or simanim. The wishes range from destroying our enemies (dates) to having lots of children (fish). (Here is a good resource for the text and some more information on these customs, and recipes). We want our year to be good and sweet so we eat those foods. We don’t want a sour or bitter year, so avoid those flavors. (We also avoid nuts, which has to do with the Hebrew word being similar to the word for “sin.”)
The most common simanim (in the US, at least!) seem to be apples, honey, and round challot. Many people also add carrots. My husband is Sephardi, so we follow those traditions and use:
- Round Challot
- Banana (or other vegetable not normally eaten with meal)
- Swiss Chard
- Black eyed peas (or fenugreek)
- Gourd (e.g. squash, pumpkin)
- Head of the fish/lamb/ram (OK, fish head it is. That’s about what I can cope with here!)
- New fruit (2nd night)
By the time we get through those, we often don’t have much room for other food! I try to use the same foods in a more recognizable form for the simanim seder itself (just a little for each person) and then to make a bigger portion for the actual seuda meal. Off to my recipe hunt I go!
I’d be interested in hearing about your simanim! Anyone care to share?