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New Year in Japan – Holidays

In Japan animal lunar calendar came from China, the inhabitants of the land of the rising sun lived on it until the 70-ies of the XIX century, until then while in a closed country not hitherto arrived Europeans. Together with other Western innovations of the inhabitants of the land of the rising sun adopted the Gregorian calendar, so New year in Japan is celebrated on the night of 31 December to 1 January. The tradition to celebrate Eastern new year celebration there are only the Chinese communities in the land of the rising sun.

Traditionally, new year’s eve immediately after midnight in Buddhist temples 108 bell strikes of the bell. It is considered that this ritual purifies people ringing from vices and allows you to celebrate the new year with an unblemished heart. The inhabitants of the land of the rising sun is traditionally sent to the Church in a traditional state attire; the ceremony of the first temple on the night of the New year is called “hatsumode”. In anticipation of the holiday home is decorated with “kadomatsu” — a song from the branches of pine, bamboo, straw and wood, plums, anchored in a decorative pot. Indoors in a visible place put a small table “mochi”, which put the dish with rice cakes and tangerines — a symbol of happiness, longevity and wealth. I must say that according to the Japanese beliefs of each dish on new year’s table bears a certain symbolic meaning. For example, noodles from buckwheat flour gives longevity, beans — health, herring ROE — a great heritage and posterity. Congratulating each other, people remember the bad not all that happened in the past year, and try to forget bad actions.

Japanese new year greeting card

In pre-holiday December days the inhabitants of the land of the rising sun send relatives, friends and acquaintances greeting card — “nengajo”. This custom is almost a ritual: if a Japanese guy once sent someone a card, he must congratulate that man for all his life! How to correctly write a greeting, children are taught in school. Hundreds of millions of new year messages fly around the world; even the postal service must employ to process additional employees.

The period from 28 December to 5 January — weekend in Japan called “Golden week”. Before her advent the inhabitants of the land of the rising sun is traditionally time to spend new year with your work team in any restaurant.

Traditional pleasures in solemn days are the game of shuttlecock , zapuskaniem kites and spinning “tops”.

Of Christmas gifts particularly popular arrows with white feathers, guarding the house from evil spirits; bamboo rakes, to rake in happiness; the boat with rice and the seven gods of happiness. According to Japanese belief, if you put such a boat under your pillow, you will dream a prophetic dream. From ancient times came and the custom of giving the doll a Daruma eye instead of whose empty eye sockets. Received the gift should draw her one eye; it is believed that the second revealed itself when will this wish come true. Interestingly, the older the person, who presented with a souvenir, the huge size is required to be a doll.

In Tokyo’s most popular temples the Meiji Jingu Shrine in Harajuku and Sensoji in Asakusa. The Japanese set in the house “kadomatsu” is a decoration made of pine, cut bamboo, straw and plum tree. Prominently set rice cake “mochi” and put the tangerine, which symbolizes longevity, health, happiness. Prepare holiday meals such as “o-Sechi-ryori”, “Zoni” and buckwheat noodles “soba”, which symbolizes longevity. Taken to send to relatives, friends, colleagues season’s greetings cards “nengajo”. Parents who give their children small amounts of money, “toshidama”. The second of January for all those wishing to offer Imperial Palace. The Emperor comes out onto the balcony of the Palace to greet the people.

To keep out evil spirits, the Japanese hang bundles of straw in front of the house, which, they believe, brings happiness. At the beginning of the new year, the Japanese begin to laugh. They believe that laughter will bring them luck in the coming year.

In addition, the lunar calendar also celebrate the Japanese New year Setsubun —

Setsubun — beginning of a new seasonal cycle. The meaning of the holiday in the expulsion of evil spirits and avoid evil. On the night of Setsubun in houses arranged ceremony Mame-Maki (“bean throwing”). Children fill cups of beans and dropped them into the rooms, reading the spell to repel demons-they. At the end of the ceremony everyone eats as many beans as their age. This ritual drives away demons and ensures health throughout the year.