Japanese New Year By Maddie Pralle

The Japanese new year is the most important holiday in Japan.

Traditional lanterns hung during this celebration.

The Japanese new year is celebrated on January 1st, the first day of the new year.

Everyone in the city gets together to celebrate. People decorate their houses and give each other small gifts called Otoshidama.

Prior to the Meiji period, the date of the Japanese new year was based on the Chinese Lunar new year. After the Meiji period however, Japan adopted the Gegorian calendar, and the first day of January became the Day for celebration.

Below are some traditions for this holiday

Osechi Ryori

This Japanese tradition shown in the picture is called Osechi Ryori. Osechi Ryori consists of traditional Japanese foods in 3-4 layered bento boxes called "jubako." The box is placed in the middle of the table and families and friends surround it. Each food in the jubako represents a particular wish for the new year.

Kagami Mochi

These desserts are called "Kagami Mochi." This is often translated to mirror cake. These rice cakes are used for decoration. They are called mirror cakes because a long time ago in Japan, circular mirrors were used for rituals involving the gods. Mirrors were where the gods resided, and the cakes are shaped in a circle to celebrate the new year together with the gods.

Kadomatsu

Kadomatsu are decorations used during the new year celebration. They are made from pine, bamboo, and plum trees, and are usually placed outside of peopleshouses and offices for the last few days of the old year, and the first few days of the new year. They are believed to provide housing for the "toshigami sama," in order to ensure a good harvest and blessings from the families' ancestors.

Toshikoshi-soba

Todhikoshi-soba are noodles eaten on New Year's Eve. When the noodles are made, they are stretched and made into a long, thin form that is said to represent a long and healthy life. It also symbolizes a wish to cut away all the misfortunes of the old year in order to commence the new year refreshed.

Joya no Kane

During New Year's Eve, you can hear bells ringing out for 1-2 hours. This Buddhist tradition is called Joya No Kane, and is one of the most important rituals for Buddhist temples all over Japan. The bell is struck exactly 108 times, to symbolize the 108 types of earthly desires and feelings called "Bonnou." Each strike is said to remove one of those Bonnou from you.

All facts from: https://www.japantoday.com/category/arts-culture/view/a-guide-to-new-year-traditions-in-japan-2

Credits:

Created with images by DeltaWorks - "japanese umbrellas umbrella japanese style" • geric10 - "lampions chinese lanterns japanese lanterns"

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