Kapparot is an ancient custom designed to fill people with a feeling that their very lives are at stake as Yom Kippur approaches.
The Kapparot ceremony symbolizes our sins crying out for atonement, and as a reminder that our good deeds, charity and repentance can save us from the penalty our many sins deserve.
Traditionally on the day before Yom Kippur you wave a live bird over your head. Men use a white rooster and women a white hen. This is done three times. Then the bird is taken to a shochet and then given to the poor. Today money is used instead of a live bird. The money is wrapped in a white cloth napkin.