Yom Kippur 2020

Yom Kippur Meaning and Traditions

June 10, 2020
Jewish Art
Suzy Glaser

In 2020, Yom Kippur begins at sunset on September 27.  Learn about the meaning behind Yom Kippur, as well as the special traditions and recipes related to this holiday. 

What is Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement” in Hebrew. This is the holiest Jewish holiday of the year and ends the ten days of High Holidays or “Days of Awe,” which begin with Rosh Hashanah.

  • On this day, Jewish people refrain from work and all adults fast from sundown the evening before Yom Kippur until nightfall the next day.
  • This day is about asking God to forgive sins, reflecting on past mistakes accepting repentance, and praying.
  • Fasting is a way to cleanse and purify the body and soul.
  • Many will wear all-white clothing to also symbolize purity.
  • On the day itself, there are many traditional prayers. One of the most important prayers describes the atonement ritual performed by high priests during ancient times.
  • Yom Kippur ends with a single blast that is blown on the shofar—a trumpet made from a ram’s horn.

When is Yom Kippur 2020?

Note that the Jewish calendar is different than today’s civil calendar (the Gregorian calendar). It is a “Luni-Solar” calendar, established by the cycles of the Moon and the Sun, so the lengths of days vary by the season, controlled by the times of sunset, nightfall, dawn, and sunrise. Yom Kippur is held on the 10th day of Tishrei, ten days after the start of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).

All Jewish holidays begin at sundown on the date listed.

Year Hebrew

Yom Kippur begins:

2019 5780 Sunset October 8, 2019 (to nightfall October 9)
2020 5781 Sunset September 27, 2020 (to nightfall September 28)
2021 5782 Sunset September 15, 2021 (to nightfall September 16)

    Yom Kippur Traditions

    The day before Yom Kippur (and fasting), a special and bountiful meal is enjoyed with a candle lighting at the end of the meal. Many people remember those who passed before them. Some Jews also visit cemeteries on this day before Yom Kippur.

    Another tradition leading up to Yom Kippur is to perform charitable acts. Many Jews give money or time to the poorest among them.

    After Yom Kippur ends with the shofar, there is much celebration, music, and dancing. A festive “break-the-fast” meal is served with lots of satisfying breakfast foods such as bagels and spreads, kugel, blintzes, and egg dishes. See how to make your own bagels!

    If you observe Yom Kippur, please share your traditions below!



    Reader Comments

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    Yom Kippur

    There isn't a Jewish house of worship near me or even a large Jewish population. I study the holiday in the old testament.


    yom kippur is a time to ask for forgiveness but it is also a time to remember our loved ones, we have a yiskor service so we can pray for the souls of our loved ones

    Observing shabbat worship or the holidays.

    Joanne, I just came across this web page. If you are interested in worshipping shabbat or the holidays, you can either see the service streamed on your computer @ "centralsynagogue dot org" or if you have Directv on channel 388 JBS (Jewish Broadcating Station). I hope this may help you to feel included in the greater Jewish community. It is a reform congregation in NYC, & very inclusive with a great clergy. L'Shanah Tovah, I wish you a great New Year & an easy fast.

    Yom Kippur

    I'm not Jewish, but find the article very informative, and it touches my Christian roots.


    I would like a Farmer's Almanac Jewish calendar.

    Jewish Calendar

    How do I order one

    jewish calendar

    you can stop by any jewish butcher and they usually carry them