Japan New Year

New Year, 正月 shogatsu, is the most important holiday in Japan. Most businesses shut down from January 1 to January 3, and families typically gather to spend the days together. Every year is an other year, which means that the years ars completely separate. Every year begins with a fresh start. So they have bonenkai parties with the purpose of leaving the old year’s worries and troubles behind. Homes and entrance gates are decorated with ornaments. On New Year’s eve toshikoshi soba, symbolizing longevity, are served.

January 1 is a very favourable day, best started by viewing the new year’s first sunrise, and traditionally believed to be representative for the whole year that has just commenced. Therefore, the day is supposed to be full of joy and free of stress and anger, while everything should be clean and no work should be done. It is a tradition to visit a shrine or temple during shogatsu (hatsumode).

Osechi

Various kinds of special dishes are served during shogatsu. Osechi is the kind that most of the people in Japan eat at the beginning of New Year. Many of the food items represent prosperity, good fortune and health. Like seafood, shrimp (representing long life) and sea bream (for auspicious fortune) are most typical.

A very popular custom is the sending of New Year’s cards, which are specially marked to be delivered on January 1. It is not uncommon for one person to send out several dozens of cards to friends, relatives and co-workers.

 

Written by Charlotte

Charlotte

Korea & Japan Lover. Princess of the internetshops, waiting for a crown ( and prince charming)

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