Yom Kippur, one of the most sacred dates in the Jewish calendar, will be held this week.
The dates change every year, so here’s how it’s celebrated when it happens in 2021, and everything else you need to know.
When is Yom Kippur?
Yom Kippur falls on the 10th day of the Tishley Jewish month (September or October in the Gregorian calendar).
It is the culmination of a day of repentance or awe, a period of 10 days of introspection following the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah, which celebrates the anniversary of the creation of the world.
This year’s Yom Kippur starts on Wednesday, September 15th and ends on Thursday, September 16th.
The fast must start at 7:01 pm on the 15th and can be stopped at 8 pm the next day.
What is the significance of Yom Kippur?
Yom Kippur is the day of Atonement, the day of looking back over the past year and seeking God’s forgiveness for the sins you have committed.
The origin dates back to the story of Moses after the Israelites escaped from Egypt.
After Moses climbed Mount Sinai, God gave him two pills, including the Ten Commandments. The first commandment told people not to worship anyone other than God.
But when he got off the mountain, Moses captured the Israelites who worshiped the golden calf and crushed the holy pills with anger.
The Israelites redeemed idolatry, and God forgave them on the tenth day of Tishley. Tishley became known as Yom Kippur.
How is Yom Kippur celebrated?
Millions of Jewish families around the world celebrate Yom Kippur Day with a 25-hour fast.
People who have to eat for health reasons do not need to fast. Children under the age of 9 are also exempt.
I generally don’t go to work or school on this day.
Most of the day is spent in the synagogue, where five worship services (rather than the traditional two) take place. These are known as Maariv, Shacharit, Musaf, Mincha and Neilah.
Maariv includes a worship recital called Cornidley on the eve of the holiday.
Yom Kippur concludes with Neira’s service and the brass band of Shofar, an ancient instrument that marks the end of fasting.
After worship, people usually fast and celebrate with family meals.
It is customary to wear white as a symbol of daytime purity.
As a way to redeem and seek God’s forgiveness, some Jews donate or spend time in philanthropy for the days leading up to the holidays.