Join us for a look at some of Japan’s most famous New Year traditions and reveal their spiritual symbolism and superstitions behind them.
Japan’s top calendar news for the first time is New Years. Most of the year people head back to their hometowns to make fun of things rooted in centuries of culture and meaning. Over the course of the year, many people have spent the first 3 years in their families for some of the best things to say about them.
Also, what are some of the most important, universal traditions in Japan? Join us as we dive deeper into some of these customs, look at their symbolism and importance.
What is the difference betweenganjitsu andgantan: why do there two ways to write New Years Day in Japanese?
Japan uses both ganjitsu and gantan to rehearse New Years Day. Commonly used on New Years cards to mark first day of the new calendar year, meaning is still very similar to that with several different kanji in each expression. In means sun, day in Japanese giving a bit of first day, while in refers to sunrise (can you see the or sun peeking over the flat horizon in the second kanji?).
Whats with the bamboo, pine decoration?
Japan remembers as New Years gods descend from heavens, exist on earthly realm. Some housed, business, sacred sites hang pine, bamboo ornaments, known as kadomatsu, on either side of entrance route to guide them. Multi-tiered bamboo shoots, representing heaven, earth and humanity, believe to attract the gods and draw them away from them. In the pine, the gods dwell till Jan. 7 before making decorations accessible to a shrine to burn their spirits back to their realm.
How to turn things around and create a mandarin on top of New Years rice cakes?
The Japanese New Years cake clings to the bright orange Japanese mandarin called a mikan, made from two round layers of pounded rice. Today these cakes were decorated with different citrus fruit called daidai, which traditionally was adorned with the same citrus fruit used as a daidai. Daidai considered a smoky word, meaning that can be translated to generation after generation, which means families want long and prosperous bloodline. More palatable and proportionally pleasing mikan developed but retained daidai outlook on health, longevity as daidai fruit is wide and bitter.
Pourquoi is it calledkagami-mochior mirror rice cake?
New Years rice cake is another festive item that says to contain the spirit of the gods. Shiny round shape homage to one of the top items in Japan, the mirror of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Earth went dark after Amaterasu retreated from world and hid in cave, Japan’s mythology says. Sun goddess brought light back into the world when she finally pulled out of the cave with a mirror. Kagami mochi signals renewal of light, energy at start of new year, ceremoniously crack with hammer or opened with your hands (never with a knife) on Jan. 11 – new year soup called ozoni.
Why are festive chopsticks tapered at both ends?
iwaibashi, a sacred canow tree, is made from wood from ancient times. Part straw bag reportedly, which suggests bumper crop of rice -but tapered ends say chopsticks can be used either side to eat with. Tapping sticks but only one end should be used for eating as another is reserved for the Gods present at the feast.
What is the significance of drinking special spiced sake?
Traditionally served on New Year, this special sake is a great way to escape last years bad luck, also help with health, longevity in the new year. O-toso is used to treat digestion, protect against colds, perfect for New Year’s winter feasts, known as kanji (defeat) and evil spirit. Each family member sips from three different-sized shallow drinking cups at least in order from small to small. Special sake also to extend health aims in the new year.
7.What is the meaning behind traditional New Years holiday food?
Japanese traditional New Years holiday food Osechi-ryori is a long tradition that extends back to the heian period (794-1185). In the early days of New Year, it was the beginning of taboo to cook meals on a hearth, so stackable boxes filled with long-lasting food items were prepared by Dec 31 for consumption during the first three days of the New Year. Restaurants to many enjoy osechi-ryori, although there are no problems during holiday time – largely because of osechi-ryori-related semblances in ingredient – which are positive:
Prawns (ebi) = long beard, bent back symbolises desire for long-life.
H. roe (kazu no ko): cluster of bright herring eggs represents the kind of healthy offspring that one wants for their family.
Black soybeans (kuro mame) =mame means health for New Year’s health.
Sea Bream (tai) =taiis fortuitous as it forms part of medetai,which means auspicious in Japanese.
Kelp (konbu) =konbusounds a lot likeyorokobu, Japanese word forhappiness.
Lotus Root (renkon) = lotus root has holes, which make us feel through it and into the New Year.
New Years is a great time to take part in some unique events, learn more about the finer aspects of Japanese culture – whether you’re in Japan for the moment or looking forward to visiting in future. We hope you can have an enjoyable year and best for coming year!
Featured image: Pakutaso Inclure photos: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) Follow us on Facebook, Twitter!