Palaygo is excited to announce a new service for senior high school students this year, extending what we have successfully offered to primary and junior high school students in the past. To kick off the year, we are launching a blog where we will provide information about Japan. Our inaugural theme is “New Year in Japan!”
What comes to mind when you think of Japanese New Year? Is it the food, temples, festivals, or something else? Do you have a precise understanding of these traditions? If not, don’t worry – we’re here to enlighten you.
Let’s start with the basics. In Japan, the New Year holiday typically spans from January 1st to January 7th. However, for businesspeople, the holiday is generally observed from January 1st to 3rd, known as ‘Sanganichi.’ During this time, families come together to celebrate with traditional food and activities.
Now, let’s delve into the culinary aspect.
A soup featuring Mochi (rice cake) and various vegetables. In the past, people believed that by consuming what was offered to the indigenous Japanese gods in this soup, they could gain divine power. The ingredients vary by region, offering a diverse range of Ozoni throughout Japan.
This is an elaborate New Year’s lunch box containing over 20 different dishes. Families typically prepare more than 10 of these dishes, placing them in a special box called ‘Jubako.’ Each dish carries a positive meaning, such as “longevity,” “financial prosperity,” and “family unity.” Osechi not only promotes good health but also allows families to avoid cooking for several days.
Moving on to decorations.
Crafted from pine and bamboo, Kadomatsu holds symbolic significance. Pine represents vitality as it stays green in winter, while bamboo symbolises a long life due to its rapid growth. It is customary to place Kadomatsu in front of the house.
This decoration signifies a sacred area and is placed above the entrance. The orange in the middle represents the sun or vitality.
Have you enjoyed learning about Japanese New Year traditions?
We’ll be sharing more information in our next post, so stay tuned! Thank you for your interest.
Japanese Phrases Related to "New Year"
- あけましておめでとうございます（Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu）：Happy New Year
- 今年も良い1年になりますように（Kotoshimo yoi ichinenni narimasuyoni ）：I wish you a wouderful year!
- お正月は何をして過ごしましたか？（Oshogatsuha naniwoshite sugoshimashitaka?）：How did you spend the New Year's holidays?
- いつまでお休みですか？（Itsumade oyasumi desuka?）：Until when is your holiday?
- 今年の抱負は何ですか？（Kotoshino hofu nandesuka?）：What's your New Year's resolution?