Follow in the footsteps of the Japanese to celebrate the traditional Oshogatsu New Year

Like many countries around the world, every New Year in Japan, a New Year celebration will take place to pray for a better year. lots of luck and goodness. Previously, Japan welcomed the new year according to the lunar calendar like Vietnam and China. However, in the Meiji period in 1873, the country adopted the Gregorian calendar and they officially welcomed the new year according to the solar calendar.

January in Japan is called “Oshogatsu” meaning “Chinh Nguyet”. That’s why the traditional New Year here is also called “Oshogatsu”. This is an event to welcome Toshigamisama, the New Year god symbolizing health, luck and prosperity. 

Oshogatsu New Year takes place from January 1 to 3. Japanese people prepare for the festival many days before by cleaning their houses to wash away the bad luck of the old year to welcome the best of the new year. 

If in Vietnam we had peaches or apricot blossoms as decorations An indispensable decoration on New Year’s Day, in Japan there is kadomatsu. Kadomatsu are bamboo branches folded together and are often displayed in pairs in front of the house on either side of the entrance. 

The Japanese believe that bamboo symbolizes a ladder to welcome the New Year god, and pine brings good luck and longevity. In addition, other items such as ropes woven from dry grass and white paper strips are also used to decorate, symbolizing the wishes of Japanese people in the new year. In addition, they also hang shimekazari charms on Oshogatsu day with the meaning of not allowing ghosts to enter the house.

On the last day of the old year, family members will gather full and ate the New Year’s Eve meal together. Meals are carefully prepared with traditional dishes made from rice, fish and seafood. The Japanese believe that food made from rice will be the source of success for people.

Osechi ryori is a traditional meal that Japanese people eat at the beginning of the new year. There are about 9 unique dishes, each containing a different meaning, all delicately presented in jub ako – a lacquer box with 3 floors. One special thing: sechi ryori is only cooked and enjoyed in the first few days of January at Japanese homes. You won’t be able to find them on the menu of any restaurant.

In addition, mochi sticky rice cake, ozoni rice cake soup are also dishes especially indispensable during the Japanese New Year.

Going to the first ceremony of the year is also An indispensable tradition on the first day of the year in Japan. This ritual is also known as hatsumode, which refers to the first shrine visit in the new year. A few hours before New Year’s Eve, Japanese people begin to flock to temples to welcome the New Year. Buddhist temples in Japan often welcome the new year by ringing 108 bells.

Like some Asian countries, Japanese children also receive gifts. farting in the new year. This custom is called otoshidama. Adults will prepare a special envelope called pochi-bukuro. The envelopes are decorated with the New Year’s mascot, the lucky cat daruma, or famous characters in manga and anime.

Sometimes the amount of money a child receives can be quite large. Japanese parents will often instruct their children to save money from a young age, leaving only a portion to buy new toys. This varies from family to family.

Different from some countriesvisiting one’s home relatives and friends is not a common activity for Japanese people. They believe that Oshogatsu is a Tet of reunion, so they only close in on the family. Instead, people will send New Year’s cards to relatives and friends. Therefore, from mid-December to the three national New Year holidays is the busiest season for post offices in Japan.