Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar. It begins at sunset on Tuesday (11 October).

Traditionally, Orthodox Jews perform rituals to cleanse themselves from sin ahead of Yom Kippur. Some communities take part in a ritual called Kapparot, which involves waving a live chicken over the head in the belief it will purge them of their sins by symbolically passing them onto the animal. The chicken is then slaughtered and often donated to the poor for a meal ahead of the fast. Others perform the Tashlich ceremony, where people empty their pockets into running water, symbolically casting their sins out to the sea.

Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man swings a chicken over his family as they perform the Kapparot ceremony in JerusalemMenahem Kahana/AFP
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man holds a chicken above a baby in Ashdod, IsraelAmir Cohen/Reuters
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
Children chase a chicken that will be used in the Kapparot ceremony in the Ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of Mea Shearim in JerusalemMenahem Kahana/AFP
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children gather to look at chickens kept for the Kaparot ritual in Bnei Brak, IsraelBaz Ratner/Reuters
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
Children chase a chicken in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhoodRonen Zvulun/Reuters
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy sells chickens to be used in the Kaparot ceremony in JerusalemIlia Yefimovich/Getty Images
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy points a camera at another boy as they sell chickens in JerusalemIlia Yefimovich/Getty Images
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man holds a chicken before he performs the Kaparot ritual in Bnei Brak, IsraelBaz Ratner/Reuters
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman wears a plastic bag over her head as she performs the Kaparot ritual in Bnei Brak, IsraelBaz Ratner/Reuters
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man holds a chicken over the head of someone wearing a protective hood in Brooklyn, New YorkStephanie Keith/Reuters
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
A man walks past an advertisement for the Kaporot ritual in the Brooklyn borough of New York CityStephanie Keith/Reuters
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray along the Mediterranean Sea in the Israeli city of Herzliya, near Tel AvivJack Guez/AFP
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
Ultra-Orthodox Jews take part in the Tashlich ritual on the shore of the Mediterranean in Herzliya, IsraelNir Elias/Reuters
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men are silhouetted as they perform the Tashlich ritual near the town of Petah Tikva, IsraelBaz Ratner/Reuters
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boys perform the Tashlich ritual along the Mediterranean in Herzliya, near Tel AvivJack Guez/AFP
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
A woman jogs past Ultra-orthodox Jews praying along the Mediterranean Sea in Tel AvivMenahem Kahana/AFP
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement Jewish holiday
Israelis sit next to their caravan as Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray along the Mediterranean Sea in Herzliya, near Tel AvivJack Guez/AFP

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