Saturday, January 2, 2010

“Ake-mashite Omedetou Gozaimasu”

Happiness in the Dawn of the New Year.

This year, to be different, let's talk about Japan's New Year!
There are lots of traditions, must-have decorations, witnessing the year's "firsts" , and a variety of auspicious foods that are eaten to celebrate this holiday. The country is veritably shut-down from the 1st - 3rd. The streets are eerily empty because everyone is inside with their families.

People prepare for the most important holiday in Japan around mid-December when they begin sending out traditional New Year’s postcards called Nengajyo. The whole of Japan participates in this, except if there is a death in the family, in which people are to send simple postcards explaining that they cannot send the traditional card due to the death of a loved one. It is considered disrespectful to the dead. These cards contain pre-printed formal phrases wishing happiness, early spring or simply happy New Year. Very much like our Christmas cards, these postcards traditionally arrive on January 1st. It’s a very cool custom, I think, as I love mail-and lots of it arrival at once is even better!

On the 31st of December homes are cleaned from top to bottom to Japanese homes, the old is swept out. Often times there are parties called

To be continued...

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