Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for people of the Jewish faith. This year it will be celebrated at sunset Tuesday, October 4 and lasts until sunset Wednesday, October 5.
Translated into English, Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement,” and the holiday marks a time of fasting and prayer, according to National Geographic.
Yom Kippur is 10 days after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
During these 10 days, observant Jews reflect on themselves, reflect on past sins, and hope to be written in God’s Book of Life for the coming year.
Rosh Hashanah is a joyful occasion where people eat apples dipped in honey, along with other sweets to celebrate a sweet and happy new year. Yom Kippur, on the other hand, is a darker day, when Jews fast to atone for their sins.
It begins with the chanting of a prayer called Kol Nidre, a deeply spiritual prayer that marks the opening of the Book of Life. Observant Jews then atone during their fast and hope to see their names written in God’s book.
The blowing of a ram’s horn, or shofar, during Neilah, the closing ceremony, marks the end of Yom Kippur and the beginning of the following Jewish year.
After the sun sets at the end of Yom Kippur, Jewish families and friends gather to break their fast.
This article was originally published on October 8, 2019.
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