The Jewish High Holidays, popularly known as the High Holy Days, include ten holy days which start from Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and ends on another impressive festival, called Yom Kippur.
The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, marks the beginning of the High Holy days. According to the Torah and Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah, celebrated for two days, marks the anniversary of the interesting creation of the planet. Jews believe that on this auspicious day of Rosh Hashanah, the almighty had emblazoned the fortune and doom of each and everyone in the "Book of Life" or the "Book of death". It decides whether the particular person will have an excellent or poor year, also he or she will be alive or breathe his/her last breath.
According to the popular belief of Jews, besides the onset of the New Year, the intriguing occasion, Rosh Hashanah also puts the spotlight on the repentance or Teshuvah. Jews observe their prime fiesta with festive meals and prayer services. Each of them finds themselves busy in wishing each other "l' shanah tovah" or "good New Year".
The Ten "Days of Repentance"
The ten days of repentance which start from Rosh Hashanah and end on Yom Kippur are also renowned to the Jews as the "days of awe". The starting day and the ending day of the ten days long Holy Days are very close to the hearts of Jews and are also very special in the Jewish calendar year. Jewish engage themselves in repenting and penitence during these ten days. This is the time when it is believed that the God passes the judgment. The Book of life and death both are kept open during this period and are only closed on the day of Yom Kippur. Jews seek forgiveness and ask the almighty to forgive their sins of the past year. Jews work these days to amend their conducts and deeds.
The Shabbat that is observed during these ten holy days is known as Shabbat Shiva. It is an imperative occasion during which Jews focus on Teshuvah. This is the foremost day when Jews focus on Teshuvah more than any other day between the period of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
The holiest day of the Jewish calendar year, widely acknowledged as "Day of Atonement", marks the conclusion of the ten days long holy days or the "days of Awe". The prime focus of this propitious day is on the final atonement before the almighty. This is the last and final opportunity before the Book of life and death are sealed. Jews wish each other "Chatima Toyah" or "good sealing" on Yum Kippur. Even though the physically able Jews are required to fast for the entire day but Jews who are physically unfit are allowed not to follow the fastidious ritual. They abstain from wearing leather and using perfumes on Yum Kippur. Most of the Jews pray to the God on this day. At the end of the day, Jews believe that all the sins that they had committed during previous year are forgiven. They start a New Year afresh. It gives Jews an opportunity to live purposeful and meaningful lives in the New Year.