The New Year celebrations can be seen all across the globe with different countries having their respective traditions. Japanese New Year traditions are very much different from the usual fireworks display seen across the world. Each country has its own way of celebrating the New Year eve in a unique and exciting way. The Japanese New Year celebrations begin to take place between the 29th of December and 3rd of January when most of the people are on holidays. While being in Japan often means celebrating the New Year eve with differences between cultures.
Oosouji – The Big Clean-Up:
The things are a bit different in Japan while it is time for celebration of Christmas and New Year eve parties. It’s the time, when people, who are living without their families, return to their hometown. Because they want to spend quality time with their families. Yes, they didn’t give parties but its doesn’t mean that Japanese people don’t have any culture to welcome the New Year. The Oosouji ritual starts in the second week of December usually starting on the 13th December. On this day Japanese people do a big cleaning before the end of the year. On this event the house is filled with cleaning product and giving more attention to cleaning house by removing dust.
Joya no Kane – The Only Desirable Noise on New Year’s Eve:
Japanese celebrate their yearly traditional function in which they place a large bell inside a temple is struck 108 times on New Year. They believe that when they ring the bell 108 times then it will the people to stay away from evil desires and passions. You can say that it is a type of purification through the ringing bells. In most cases the Buddhist monks present in the temple would toll the bell first. The visitors are allowed to avail this opportunity by being one of the 108 people arriving early on New Year day. They buy a ticket before striking the bell or paying small sum for striking the bell.
In Japan, Osechi Ryori is the traditional foods enjoyed and appreciated on New Year’s Day. They come with special boxes “Jubako” which are filled with colorful dishes, which are similar to bento boxes. On the New Year party, all these dishes come with special meaning. Like bento boxes, Osechi Ryori are usually assembled in 2-3 layers of boxes and each layer contains many dishes. According to their tradition, each Japanese family shares one ojubako box to celebrate New Year’s party. The multi-tiered and layered boxes symbolize the desire that wealth and happiness come continuously, like the layers in ojubako.
Traditional Japanese Food to Welcome the New Year:
Ozoni is a Japanese New Year’s event in which they make and drink soup that contains vegetables, sticky rice cakes, and meats. The different regions may have variations in ingredients, on the broth or the shape of the rice cake but one thing stays the same. In Japan when people gather on New Year’s Day, Ozoni is an indispensable and compulsory dish for the celebration. Ozoni soup can be made with kombu stock, good chicken stock, fish stock, winter vegetables such as spinach, miso-flavored broth, daikon radish or carrots are used. Meat can include fish, chicken or shellfish.