- Japanese people eat a special selection of dishes on New Year’s Day called osechi.
- The Japanese have a custom of sending New Year’s Day postcards to their friends and relatives. Nenga are New Year’s greetings. Sending nenga greeting cards to friends and family is a very popular New Year’s tradition.
- On New Year’s Day, Japanese people have a custom of giving pocket money to children. This is known as otoshidama, which is a custom from China, as a gift for the New Year.
- Another custom of the Japanese is making rice cakes. This is made before New Year’s Day and eaten during the beginning of January.
- Every year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bonsho (temple bells) an even 108 times, an event known as joya no kane.
- Toshikoshi soba, is a dish of noodles in hot broth traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve.
- On hatsumode (the first shrine visit of the year), people in Japan visit the shrine or temple around midnight on New Year’s Eve to pray to the gods for a good year to come.
- The Kadomatsu is a traditional Japanese decoration made from bamboo and pine and it occupies an important place in the New Years celebrations in Japan. It is usually 2 pines forming a gate, set in front of homes in order to welcome ancestral spirits or “kami” (gods) and have good luck in the coming year.
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