Rosh Hashanah is formally known as Jewish New Year and is celebrated on the first or second day of the Jewish Calendar. Rosh Hashanah is held as one of the holiest days of the Jewish year because it marks the starting of the new year with deep reflection of past mistakes.
"Head of the Year" is a literal translation of Rosh Hashanah. The holiday involves a celebration of 2 days which are the first and second day or the Tishrei or Tishri. The Tishrei is the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. Unlike American culture that marks the new year in January, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated in September or October. While Rosh Hashanah encompasses a celebration of the new year, it also highlights the celebration of the creation of Adam and Eve. This is pertinent to the new year as everything about Rosh Hashanah is centered around God and his relationship to mankind. Like Adam and Eve later found their place in God's world through sin, Rosh Hashanah also highlights sin. During Rosh Hashanah, Jews reflect upon past wrongs and sins of the previous year. In doing so, they make resolutions and new life plans for the new year. This tradition is very similar to that of the American New Year.
The signature symbol of Jewish New Year is the shofar. A shofar is a ram's horn. The shofar is blown like a horn to announce the new year. Additionally, the shofar is a way to announce the repentance of sins, which is also extended during Yom Kippur; Yom Kippur is also observed during Tishri shortly after Rosh Hashanah. Nonetheless, each part of Rosh Hashanah also has symbolism in the first sins of man. In either event, Rosh Hashanah encompasses many facets of sins, repentance, and resolution.
Another tradition of Rosh Hashanah is the eating of apples. Apples are dipped in honey as a symbol of a wish for a sweet new year. Also, bread is dipped in honey as well in hopes of a sweet year. Instead of saying happy new year like in American culture, Jewish people say "Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim" which translates to "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good new year". Another Rosh Hashanah tradition is the Tashlikh. The Tashlikh is a prayer said near a flowing body of water like a creek, river, or ocean. The prayer is done to cast off sins. People empty everything in their pockets into the river as a symbol of casting away sins. Like other holidays, Rosh Hashanah is treated like the Sabbath. No work is permitted and most time is spent in synagogues observing the holiday. A machzor, a special liturgy book, is used during Rosh Hashanah.