What is Yom Kippur and how is it celebrated?

Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the most important day of the year in the Jewish faith

NBC Universal, Inc.

Yom Kippur is the most important day of the year for the Jewish faith and ends the 10-day period of repentance and reflection known as the "High Holidays," which began with Rosh Hashanah.

But what is Yom Kippur and how is it celebrated? Here's everything you need to know:

What is Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is a holiday where Jewish people reflect on their sins and ask for forgiveness from God and those they have wronged. They also believe that God will decide if they will live or die in the year ahead.

When is Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur will be held from the evening of Sunday, Sept. 24 to the evening of Monday, Sept. 25.

The holiday is held on the 10th day of the year on the Hebrew calendar, with Rosh Hashanah having been the Jewish New Year.

How is Yom Kippur celebrated?

Yom Kippur is typically celebrated with a day of reflection, prayer and fasting.

Followers of the Jewish faith attend religious services and do not eat from sundown to sundown. Young children and people who would be facing a medical risk from fasting are exempt.

When the Day of Atonement is over, a "shofar" horn is blown to mark the end of the fast and a festive meal is prepared to break the fast and rebuild people's strength.

What is a "shofar" horn?

A shofar horn is a musical instrument made with the horn of a ram.

In the Jewish faith, shofar horns have been used for centuries for various purposes, including proclaiming the Sabbath. In modern times, the shofar horn is also blown on Rosh Hashanah and every day during the month before the holiday.

What do people eat post-fast for Yom Kippur?

There is no specific meal that needs to be eaten after a Yom Kippur fast, but people usually eat something easy to digest as to not shock their systems after fasting.

A popular choice for a post-fast meal is a brunch-style menu, including bagels, eggs and salads.

How do people prepare for their fast on Yom Kippur?

The fast on Yom Kippur goes for about 25 hours, and during that time followers of the Jewish faith are not allowed to eat or drink anything, including water.

Most Jewish people have a meal with lots of meat for lunch on the day before Yom Kippur, followed by a "Seudat Mafseket," or Meal of Cessation, for dinner, which is rich in carbohydrates and low in sodium.

The biggest challenge during the fast is dehydration. It is recommended to drink lots of water before the fast and prepare for the day-long fast up to a week in advance.

Rosh Hashanah is a two-day holiday celebrating the Jewish New Year and kicks off the start of the Jewish High Holiday season. Here’s everything you need to know about this important holiday celebrated by people around the world.

What are some Yom Kippur greetings?

People celebrating Yom Kippur typically say to each other the Hebrew saying Gemar chatimah tovah," which translates to “A good final sealing.” It comes from the idea that on Yom Kippur, their fates for the year ahead will be finally sealed.

It is also common to wish someone an easy fast.

However, it is not common to wish someone a "Happy Yom Kippur."

Contact Us