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New Year's Decoration in Japan

By 4:34 PM

As I wrote last post, December is the most busiest time in Japan. Even big cities, still do celebrate New Year traditional way.

The Japanese New Year is an annual festival with its own customs. The preceding days are quite busy, particularly the day before, known as Ōmisoka(New years Eve).

At midnight on December 31, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells a total of 108 times  to symbolize the 108 human sins in Buddhist belief, and to get rid of the 108 worldly desires regarding sense and feeling in every Japanese citizen. A major attraction is The Watched Night bell, in Tokyo.

Japanese believe that the ringing of bells can rid off their sins during the previous year. After they are done ringing the bells, they celebrate and feast on soba noodles.
-from wikipedia

Originally,New Year is the event to welcome the Toshigami (Year God) to protect the house for the coming year.
The New Year decorations are to purify the place to welcome the Year God.

Most common New Year's decorations are,

■ShimeKazari

This decoration is made of  twisted straw rope with fern leaves, an orange and other items of good omen. It is generally hung on the front door of the house during the New Year holidays to prevent malevolent spirits from entering the house.

Nowadays many modern decorations like a wreath, you can see at store.



■Kadomatsu

The Kadomatsu is generally constructed with three lengths of bamboo which represent durability and flexibility. The pine boughs signify longevity, and the plum blossoms suggest strength through adversity.

They are placed in pairs in front of homes to welcome ancestral spirits of the harvest.

These days, you see those decorations in front of shops,  in front of buildings and in front of apartment in the big city.


■Kagamimochi


Offering for toshigami (year's god) settled on "tokonoma" (Japanese alcove) in a new year celebration. It consists to pile up 2 or 3 round rice cakes (lower is bigger) and put a "daidai" (bitter orange) at the top. On January 11th, it will be cut off into small pieces to be cooked.
-from Wikipedia

If you travel to Japan New year's holiday season, you'll see those decorations everywhere. Oh, rice cake must be in the house.

And all depending on regions, I came from big city so I didn't do much decorations but if you go country side, they have more strict and specific way to celebrate New Years.

This is just decorations, we eat specific food at specific day, drink specific drinks for specofic order...there are so many manners you have to know!

Seriously, New Years is really big deal to Japanese.

If you are interested,

This is very modern Japan. New year decorations are all packed and very cheap! Somebody explains Shimekazari in English in this video.

Amazon Japan
- sells New Years Decorations,Cool!


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