Friday, September 16, 2011

Women Wear Red on Rosh Hashanah in Cochin India

Does East meet West when it comes to getting dressed for Rosh Hashanah? The answer is almost. Whereas we in the West have the cultural custom of wearing white on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize purity, Jewish women in Cochin, India, make sure to wear red and white. OMG! How could they? Doesn't red mean “beware” – as in red traffic lights and red colored “Do Not Enter” road signs?

Think again. In India the color red parallels the color white. Bridal dresses are often red because for that culture it symbolizes simplicity and purity. So why not make it the perfect color to honor Rosh Hashanah?

Cultural customs surrounding color got me thinking about our Jewish heritage. What is the most popular color associated with Judaism? Next, think about the board game “Clue”. What do Miss Scarlett, Mrs. White and Professor Plum have in common with the Jewish color scheme? Finally, think about the use of color in different Bible stories. How are colors used to symbolize a contract between God and man? When does the use of color trigger rivalry?

These questions and others could mark a new way for teaching Tanach in the New Year.
Have a colorful Rosh Hashanah.

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