Japanese tradition on New Year’s season

A happy new year! This is Yoko writing. Thank you for visiting our web site.

I guided guests from America on New Year’s Day. They are very interested in New Year holidays in japan. When we visited the shrine, they asked me some questions about things related to New Year’s season. I will explain some of them on the blog.

【Hamaya (an arrow to drive away devils)】
Hamaya is a lucky item that you can get shrines and temples. It is said an arrow defeats evil.

【Omikuji (paper fortune)】
Omikuji is like a lottery at shrines and temples. It is written oracle. The rank of fortune is various from good luck to bad luck. You can tie the paper to the branch there or bring it back with you if you like.

【Kadomatsu (decorative pine branches)】
Kadomatsu is New Year’s decorative pine brunches which is placed in front of the entrance of a house during holiday season. It symbolizes longevity, prosperity and purify. Japanese people decorate Kadomatsu to welcome deity.

【Eto (Japanese zodiac)】
The Japanese zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle, and each year has a symbolic animal. This is the year of the rat.

【Hatsumoude (the first shrine or temple visit of the year)】
Many Japanese people usually visit a shine or a temple on New Year’s Day to pray for good luck.

【Osechi (traditional new year’s dish)】
Osechi-ryori is a traditional Japanese dish served on the New Year holidays. It is an assortment of small dishes. Each dish has meaning. Japanese people eat “Osechi” wishing for health and longevity.

I will explain another tradition some other time. By the way, the hotel they stayed held the event of watching the sunrise on New Year’s Day. They told me it was interesting. Because they watch the sunset on New Year’s Eve in America. I didn’t know that…

Well, time to end. Thank you for reading and have a great year!

Yoko Yoshida, a member of iTWS japan LLP

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