�Yom Kippur� is a holyday among the Jews. It is also known as the �Day Of Atonement�. Yom Kippur marks the culmination of the �Days Of Repentance�, also known as the �High Holidays�. Jews believe that, on the day of Yom Kippur, they would get the last opportunity to obtain release and forgiveness from their previous sins.
Yom Kippur is observed at the tenth day of the Jewish New Year, called �Rosh Hashanah�. On the tenth day of the New Year, they seek forgiveness for the sins committed in the previous year. It is another way of celebrating the long waited New Year as well.
The Jewish also believe that on this holyday, god passes His judgment on every person on earth. On the Yom Kippur day they seek God�s blessings and forgiveness through utter devotion and spiritual commitment. They do so, because they want to start the New Year with a clean conscience, regretting his previous misdeeds.
Yom Kippur To Different Jew Sects
Yom Kippur does not have any particular historical background. According to Jewish mythology, this observance has a relation with the �Ten Commandments�. Yom Kippur is celebrated differently in different Jewish communities. The Sephardic Jews call the day the day of the �White Fast�. On this day they wear white clothes in order to present them as �white� or �pure�. Ashkenazic Jews celebrate this Holyday as the day of �Rejoicing�. They pass the day with a somber and grave feeling in mind.
The Diversity In Observing Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur is associated with the idea of purification or cleansing the mind. The Jews fast from the evening of the Holyday till the following night. The whole day is passed with unusual prayers. On this particular day, Jews do not take food. But people who have problems with fasting do take food. Some other things are also prohibited, such as, washing, putting cosmetics and so on.
The Jews visit the synagogues on this sacred day. In Israel, people strictly observe the day of Yom Kippur. The schools, colleges and business organizations remain closed. Most interestingly, on that day, not a single plane takes off from the airport. On the day of Yom Kippur, the Jews love to ride bi-cycles. This practice is popular among the non-Jew communities too. Thus, it is called the �Festival Of Bi-Cycles� too.
The Prayer Services
On the occasion of Yom Kippur, men and women wear a white garment, called �Kittle�. The observation starts with a prayer named �Kol Nidre�, which must be recited before sunset. Besides, the Book Of Jonah is also recited during the afternoon prayers. There are Jews who prefer to continue prayers right from the morning to the night, but some definitely take breaks in between.
Services In The Temples Of Jerusalem
In Jerusalem the �Kohen Gadol� (The High Priest) performs all the rituals. He also sacrifices some object in the name of Yom Kippur. Before the start of the rituals, the priest needs to purify himself through five Holy baths and changing clothes for four times.
Yom Kippur is thus a unique celebration, where men and women seek God�s Divine blessing to decontaminate their conscience through devoted prayers and rituals.