10 New Year Traditions Unique To Japan

Every country celebrates New Year’s Eve and the New Year in delightful ways. As an example, Japan is a nation that welcomes the year with numerous ancient rituals and rituals.

As the capital city of overwork in the world, New Year’s holiday gives enough time people in Japan to rest and revel in new year’s Eve with total energy and joy.

How do the Japanese Celebrate the New Year? 

Do you want to know more about how the Japanese celebrate the season? These are the most famous Japanese practices and customs:

1. Joya No Kane 

Every year at midnight on 31st December, Buddhist temples nationwide can ring their bells for the temple. The practice is recited to be repeated 108 times. It is also called Joya No Kane.

The bells’ number represents the amount of human desire. As per the Buddhist religion, these wants represent the primary reason for the suffering and pain of all human beings. This practice is intended to eliminate negative thoughts from last year and welcome the coming year by expressing hope and optimism.

2. Kadomatsu 

The ritual is about decorating the front of their Japanese homes by using Kadomatsu. Kadomatsu is made from bamboo, pine, and plum trees.

According to many myths, Kadomatsu is the temporary home of Gods that visit to bless everyone who decorates their houses. On 15th January, Kadomatsu is burned, and then the Gods are redeemed.

3. Kagami Mochi 

Another Japanese decor that is perfect for this New Year celebration includes Kagami Mochi. Kagami Mochi is a two-round Japanese cake. The smaller one is set in the middle of the larger one. Finally, an orange that is bitter sits on the top of the arrangement.

The two rice cakes represent your year abandoned and the one to come. The orange on top represents the passing of one generation’s family through the generations to come. The Japanese break mochi during the second weekend of the year and eat mochi.

4. Hagoita 

Hagoita is considered to be a rectangular wooden paddle. It was initially used for playing Hanetsuki, one of the oldest forms of Japanese badminton.

In many stories and legends, Hagoita helps drive away evil spirits. The beautiful design uses silk, wool, and Japanese washi paper. Hagoita generally are in the form of kabuki actors, geishas, or sumo wrestlers.

5. Oshotgatsu-kazari 

Families living in Japan are also known to embellish their homes by putting Oshogatsu-kazari on their walls as an element of New Year’s Day celebrations. The most common ones are Kadomatsu, Kagami mochi, and Shimekazari, showing different views.

The timing for this celebration also has an impact. Based on locals’ advice, when you rush to decorate your home only on the final day of the calendar, it could anger God and cause negative luck to your properties. So, you should be patient by putting up a single decoration and begin putting it before the days preceding the last day of the year.

6. Toshikoshi Soba 

After getting their homes cleaned and decorated, according to the rituals and cooking, Toshikoshi Soba is one of the main events during New Year celebration in Japan. They are long noodles that symbolize an overall wish for a lifetime with attention to detail and accuracy.

It’s also regarded as to be a sign of surrender. If you’ve had an unlucky year and are looking to improve it, Toshikoshi Soba suggests you allow the past to go and begin the year with optimism. Moving on can be difficult, yet it’s equally as empowering.

7. Nengajo 

Family is a major part of celebrations that mark New Year’s Eve in the country. The custom is that relatives send their wishes to each other via cards. Nengajo, also known as Nenga, is the greetings for New Year’s Eve that Japanese exchange with one another on this festive holiday. Post offices across the country make extra efforts to ensure that every person’s Nenga is delivered at the time of New Year’s Day.

Traditionally Nengajo is sent to arrive on the 1st of January and features the animal zodiac symbol of the new year. So, what do these cards include? The content inside the car is a congratulating message for the family. It also includes showering gratitude to the family that does something special for them in the preceding months. But these cards aren’t sent to the families that have experienced the death of a family member.

8. Hatsumode 

Japanese are also out to celebrate Hatsumode throughout the first days of the year in Japan. This is the first shrine visit of the year. They go to the shrine to worship, make wishes, say prayers, convey gratitude, and buy luck charms.

When you travel along the main roads, you’ll be able to see the Buddhist temples, as well as Shinto shrines are beautifully decorated and lively during this time of the year. Also, you will see the atmosphere edgy since many vendors set up their stalls in front of the tourists.

9. Otoshidama 

Otoshidama is regarded as one of the most exciting traditions among young people in Japan. This involves giving money to children from their parents, grandparents, and relatives.

Money is exchanged between the youngsters to show their gratitude for their effort and effort in school during the year before. The quantity of cash starts at the amount of 5,000 yen. The amount keeps increasing with the age of the child.

10. Omikuji 

Omikuji are fortune-telling symbols written on tiny pieces of paper. You can purchase them at temples and shrines for a modest cost. The top Omikuji is Daikichi; however, the most shabby Omikuji is Kyou.

The fortunes are then scrolled before being folded to form an element in the game of suspense. If you are lucky enough to receive a negative one, it is recommended to consider using the weaker hand to tie it up to an area where the negative fortunes are. The practice indicates that your bad luck has been left to the side.

No wonder Japan is a land of cultures and traditions. For more on lifestyle and stories around the world, stay connected.


Also read about 10 Most Common Japanese Surnames Along With Their Meaning

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