Gifts are sometimes given on this holiday as well, but in truth it is a holiday reserved for fasting and spirituality. By tradition though, it actually starts the day before; even though only the day of is referred to as Yom Kippur.
History on Traditions
Whether you are a devout to the Jewish faith, stepping up to take your heritage and religion more seriously, or just a curious onlooker, there is a lot to learn and take home from Yom Kippur. Referred by some as a holiday and others as just a tradition, this day at its core is about seeking forgiveness and atoning for ones sins; against god and man.
So it starts the day before, as the fast begins at sundown it is critical to get morning prayers and afternoon prayers done earlier than usual.
Then, when the feast comes, one should only eat easily digested foods that are not salty. These two things will help you to survive the fast without eating or drinking.
The fast begins at sundown and from this point on you cannot eat or drink anything, seek atonement with god through prayer and asking forgiveness. Atonement with man though is sometimes not as easy. In the past when villages were small and everyone knew everyone it was a little easier to hunt down the man you wronged and apologize hoping for his forgiveness.
Now though in the large society that we live in, this is a little harder to do. While those living more traditionally might not agree, many people seek atonement with man by doing charitable deeds on this day. Whether you seek out all those you wronged or help out the local homeless shelter, it is important to do something in recognition of this tradition.
Learning from Special Holidays
Whether you are Jewish or even religious for that matter, there is something to be taken out of this holiday. It is, at its core, a few very important things. It shows us to hold ourselves accountable for our actions and to have a conscience about the wrongs that we all commit.
Another very important thing it does is encourage charitable acts; after all, helping others is one of the best ways to get the most out of life.