New year’s day in Japan
As we ‘re all about to party to celebrate the new year, we tell you how the Japanese celebrate the new year!!
The new year, Oshogatsu or Ganjitsu, is one of the most important holiday in Japan and celebrations last for a few days. Since the Meiji era, it is celebrated on January 1st, like in Europe. Before 1873, new year’s day was still celebrated in early spring.
Preparations start before December 31st with cleaning the house (Ôsôji) for purification, dealing with routine business as well as debts, to start off the year in a good way. As for decoration, a Shimenawa, a lucky charm made of straw, is hanged on the door. The meals (Osechi) are also prepared for new year’s day and the following days. Indeed, the Japanese don’t work during the first days of the year, including cooking.
© All rights reserved Ômisoka, new year’s eve, is a very important day in Japan. On this evening, it’s the tradition not to have a feast but to eat only a Soba soup as a symbol of long life. Traditionally, before midnight, people go the Buddhist temple to attend the 108 gong knocks which purify the souls. The young attend the count downs in the most lively areas of the cities. On new year’s eve, the TV show Kôhaku uta gassen reaches hit audiences on channel NHK. This very popular music show is broadcast every year since 1953 featuring J-Pop or Enka stars.
In the morning of January 1st, people watch the sun rising (Hatsuhinode). Then, from the 1st to the 3rd, people go to temples. This ritual is very popular and up to 4 million visitors go to the Meiji sanctuary in Tôkyô for the occasion. We also visit family and friends and people get money.
To wish people a happy new year in Japanese, you can say Yoi o-toshi o until December 31st, and Akemashite Omedetô from January 1st on.
Happy new year everyone!
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Culture and traditions