The traditional greeting on this day is “Shana Tovah” (A Good Year), and an additional blessing of “Ktiva ve’chatima tovah” (may you be inscribed and sealed for a Good Year) is added before and during the holiday.
Symbolic food called “simanim” (symbols) are eaten according to Ashkenazic and Sefardic custom alike. Sefardic tradition includes eating meat from the head of a sheep, such as the tongue, symbolizing the “head” of the year. Round challah bread is served representing the cycle of the year.
There is a halachic question as to reciting the blessing of “Shehecheyanu” on the second night of Rosh Hashanah during Kiddush, having recited it already on the first night. In order to solve this question, it is customary to serve new fruit which haven’t been eaten during the past year, and recite the blessing on the fruit.
The shofar is a trumpet made from a ram’s horn, and the Yemenite custom of using a kudu horn has become popular in many circles. The shofar is blown each morning from a month before Rosh Hashanah (besides Shabbat) and sounds 100 notes on each day of Rosh Hashanah. The sound of the shofar simulates groans and cries and is intended to awaken the listener from his daily routine and make a spiritual accounting of his actions in preparation for the upcoming Day of Judgment.
On Rosh Hashanah, this is one of the most important observances of this holiday, incumbent on men, women and children, to hear the shofar blown, unless one day of the holiday is Shabbat, in which case the shofar is not blown.
The three types of shofar notes are as follows;
Tekia – a three second sustained note
Shevarim – three one-second notes
Teruah – a series of at least nine short notes.
The final note in each set is Tekiah Gedolah – a sustained note for at least ten seconds.