Do Japanese People Celebrate Lunar New Year latest 2023

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Japanese New Year Celebration (Shogatsu or Oshogatsu) – Traditions, Customs and Facts

In Japan, the New Year is the most important holiday. People will say “ake-mashite-omedetou-gozaimasu” (meaning “happy new year”) to each other whenever they see each other for the first time in the new year. The events are widely celebrated and enjoyed, most businesses are closed January 1-3, with the exception of some retailers. Many people who have moved to big cities will return home during the holidays to be with family and friends. Since most businesses are closed on the first three days of the New Year, the streets tend to be very quiet, except for those near temples and shrines.

Before the New Year, the Japanese generally have Bonenkai party held between office colleagues and bosses. The word “bonenkai” means “old year’s oblivion party”. The holiday is intended to forget the unpleasant memories of the passing year as well as to welcome the new year. At the party, the bosses will usually say that all their stuff has to be Breiko (means forgetting their position and being rude!).

Omisoka is New Year’s Day and is the second most important day of the year in Japan. The Japanese are very busy on omisoka because they have to do housework (called osoji) in order to get rid of the dirt of the passing year. Everything must be cleaned before New Year’s Day. The newly cleaned house is adorned with some auspicious images such as kadomatsu and shimekazari. After cleaning, the Japanese will have the biggest dinner of the year.

At the very end of the day, generally around 11 p.m., it is very common to have toshikoshiudon or toshikoshisoba, a kind of Japanese noodle. Long noodles are eaten to symbolize long life. Joya is New Year’s Eve. Shortly before midnight, temples and shrines across Japan ring their huge bells 108 times, a precaution intended to drive away the sins of the previous year and ensure a fresh start.

Japanese New Year celebration (called shogatsu in Japanese) takes place from January 1 to 3, the first day of the new year is called Gantan and is a national holiday in Japan. Families usually gather to spend the days together. During shogatsupeople will eat special dishes called osechi ryori which is packed in a Jubako box and has multiple layers. Each dish has a special meaning. For example, kuromame (sweet black beans) for health, shrimp for long life, kurikinton (chestnuts and mashed sweet potato) for happiness, tazukuri (terriyaki flavored with small sardines) for a good harvest, kazunuko (herring roe) for fertility, etc. It is also traditional to eat mochi (rice cake) dishes during the New Year holidays. The most popular mochi dish is zouni (rice cake soup). But of course the ingredients vary according to regions and families.

There is a custom of giving money to children during these holidays (this is called otoshidama). It would be a good idea if you prepare money in small decorative envelopes if you go to family gatherings. On the first day of the New Year, Japanese people usually go to a temple or shrine to pray for safety, good fortune and health. This first visit to a shrine or temple is called hatsumoude in Japanese (meaning “first visit”) and it is one of the most important rituals of the year.

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