This Year is Different

For some reason we never did the whole simanim thing at our house over Rosh Hashanna. No head of a fish or sheep on the table,  but we always ate a pomegranate and dipped apple in the honey. The kids never went for the challah with the raisins, and this year, seeing as I am going to be baking the challahs, I will make a few small ones without raisins for them, and the bigger ones with raisins for me and my KoD.

I was wondering what you do for the simanim, how you prepare all of these different foods, if you have added your own traditions and what they are. For example -  do you eat lettuce, raisins and celery so you can say “Let Us have a Raise in Salary” (ok, not my joke, but people actually do this…). This is the first year I plan to do all of the simanim and I need as many ideas as I can get.

and what do you do for the “gourd”?

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  1. batya from NJ says:

    Gourd, i believe is squash & my husband likes to tease about “lettuce, 1/2 a raisin & celery”

    Shana tova to all!

  2. rgoldstand says:

    AFAIK, gourd can be pumpkin or other squash. I’ve tried a few pumpkin recipes for Rosh Hashana’s past, and so far this kugel recipe is my favorite:

    Plus, how can you not LOL when they tell you to “demolish the pumpkin”…? ;)

  3. Gave A Get says:

    We do them all. You never know what is going to work and I need all the help I can get!!

  4. G6 says:

    We don’t do the simanim but I have an awesome butternut squash kugel recipe if you want it for the “gourd” thing.

  5. I don’t think most Ashkenazim outside of Israel did more than what you did.

  6. hadassahsabo says:

    G6 – would love the recipe –
    KoD, would you eat a butternut squash kugel?

  7. G6 says:

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Butternut Squash Kugel

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    2 butternut squash
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup parve milk
    1 cup flour
    5 eggs

    Cut the squash in half and bake until soft.

    Put all ingredients including squash (not cinnamon) in a food processor (or mash by hand).

    Place in two square or one 9″ x 13″ pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

    Bake at 350° for one hour.

    Freezes well.

  8. hadassahsabo says:

    5 eggs?? can one use eggbeaters or something?

    other than that it sounds easy and divine!

  9. Baila says:

    My parents also only did the apples and honey and pomegranates thing, as did most families I know. It seems to have come into fashion to do the simanim and here in Israel people are especially into it. I think it’s fun to gross out my kids with fish heads on the table. We do carrot salad, cabbage salad, beet salad and others, can’t remember them now.

    Shana Tova!

  10. Ilana says:

    I put out a head of garlic instead of a fish head. I also do Moroccan carrot salad, and cut the carrots in circles which is supposed to be a sign for coins, money. I think Aish or Chabad have a whole article about the simanim on their site.

  11. Chanief says:

    We do the typical and traditional. Apples dipped in honey, round challa with honey, and pomegranates.

  12. balebusta says:

    Wow, I’m getting some very good ideas here…we are having a low budget holiday here fitting with our “prairie years lifestyle” (eg young and poor) but the squash kugel sounds great…we do the standard apple & honey and pomengranate….i think i will definitely cut carrots into circles as we need all the gold coins we can get!!

  13. Mark says:

    When my wife and I are at my BIL’s family (all Temanim), they are very big on simanim. I think they have 7 simanim or so, dates, of course, being one of them. I don’t remember all the rest of them, but I seem to recall a sweet rice dish with nuts and other stuff in it. Maybe a sweet meat dish of some sort.

  14. I don’t ever recall having pomegranates for Rosh Hashanah when I was growing up. Just apple/honey, round challah, and other round/sweet foods.

    • Mark says:

      My dad grew up in Kfar Sirkin (near Petach Tikvah) and they had a Rimon tree (maybe more than 1) nearby and ate them regularly, including on Rosh Hashanah. He always tells us about the sharpened tin can on a stick that he used to get them down from the tree.

      Here is the USA, 30-40 years ago, we only got fruit when it was in season. Back then, they didn’t have good ways to ship “exotic” fruits for long distances while still keeping them edible.

  15. Tzvi Haber says:

    welcome to the club. It’s actually a gemara based minhag.

    I wrote a post about the origins of simanim and superstitions in halacha.

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