Food - Drink
The Symbolic Reason Fish Heads Are Eaten During Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year that occurs around September or October each year, is a holiday in which food takes a starring role. Amongst the general palate-pleasers, such as tender brisket or baked salmon, many Rosh Hashanah gatherings feature dishes laden with symbolism — including fish heads.
Placing a poached, fried, or broiled fish head on the holiday table is a Rosh Hashanah tradition with origins in a Torah passage that reads, "God shall place you as a head and not as a tail." Since "Rosh Hashanah" translates from Hebrew as "head of the year," serving a fish head became a nod to embracing the new year in a spirit of leading, not following.
Understandably, not everyone finds fish heads appealing — Zivia Reischer, in Mishpacha Magazine, revealed her personal experience of squeamishly selecting a salmon head at the store and seeing another woman doing and feeling the same. Despite the awkwardness, Reischer said she felt a shared connection through this traditional experience.