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Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: ראש השנה, literally "head
[of] the year"), is the Jewish New Year although the real
name for this Feast of the Lord is called Yom Teruah
(Hebrew: יום תרועה, literally "day [of] shouting/raising a
noise") or the Feast of Trumpets according to the correct
biblical calendar of the 1st and 2nd temple period, not Rosh
Hashanah. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim
Nora'im ("Days of Awe") which usually occur in the early
autumn of the Northern Hemisphere. Rosh Hashanah is a
two-day celebration, which begins on the first day of
Tishrei. The day is believed to be the anniversary of the
creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their
first actions toward the realization of mankind's role in
God's world. Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the
shofar (a hollowed-out ram's horn) and eating symbolic foods
such as apples dipped in honey to evoke a "sweet new year".
The common greeting on Rosh Hashanah is "Shanah Tovah",
which, in Hebrew, means "[have a] good year" or similar
greetings. Thus, in Yiddish the greeting is "ah gut yohr"
("a good year") or "ah gut gebentched yohr" ("a good blessed
Serious greetings and blessings, based on the nature of the
day, commonly used among religiously observant Jews are "Ketiva
VeChatima Tova" which means "[may you be] written/inscribed
and sealed [for a good new year i.e. by God]." After Rosh
Hashanah ends, the greeting is abbreviated to "Gmar Chatima
Tova" ("[may you be] finally sealed [for a] good [year by
God]") until Yom Kippur. After Yom Kippur is over, until
Hoshana Rabbah, as Sukkot ends, the greeting is "Gmar Tov"
("[a] good conclusion [of God's judgment]").
The above describes three important stages as the spiritual
order of the Ten Days of Repentance (the ten days between
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) unfolds: On Rosh Hashanah God
"'opens' the 'books' of judgment" of creation and all
mankind starting from each individual person, and in those
books it is first "written" what will be decreed, hence the
emphasis on the "ketiva" ("writing"). The "judgement" is
then "pending" and prayers and repentance are required. Then
on Yom Kippur, the judgment is "sealed" or confirmed (i.e.
by the Heavenly Court), hence the emphasis is on the word "chatima"
("sealed"). But the Heavenly verdict is still not final
because there is still an additional chance and positive
expectation that until Sukkot concludes there is hope that
God will deliver a final good and favorable judgment, hence
the use of "gmar" ("end") that is "tov" ("good").