In Oshogatsu, families living far away gather
together and celebrate New Year. First of all, letfs talk about gOmisokah,
the last day, people express their appreciation for the year and pray the
happiness for the whole family in the coming year eating gToshikoshi-sobah-long
thin noodles. While people
enjoy pleasant conversation, gJyoya-no-kaneh -New Yearfs Eve Bell-
starts to ring at the Buddhist temples. gJyoya-no-kaneh is supposed to
release people from 108 forms of evil. Ringing bells late on New Yearfs
Eve continues into the early hour of New Yearfs Day 108 times in all.
greet each other saying gOmedetoh- Happy New Year - during the New Year
holidays. People visit shrines
and temples to pray for the happiness of the coming year- Hatsumode. Quite a
few people wear the traditional gKimonoh on these special days.
People place gKagami-mochih- decorated rice
cakes - in the alcove and drink gTosoh- special sake - and eat gZonih- soup with rice cake and
vegetables - and gOsechi-Ryorih - specially prepared New Yearfs food.
gKadomatsuh- a pair of decorative pine trees -
is placed on the both sides of the front entrance and also
gShimenawa-kazarih - twisted rice-straw decoration - is decorated at the
People also enjoy exchanging New Yearfs cards
with their relatives and acquaintances to greet and to inform current
status. It is quite similar to
that of Christmas cards.
Children receive gOtoshidamah- a gift of money
on New Yearfs holidays - from parents, relatives and acquaintances of the
family. Formerly gHanetsukih - battledore and shuttlecock- , gKomah-
spinning a top - and gSugorokuh- a race-type board game- were popular
games among children. However, recently most children are spending their
time watchingTV, playing game and meeting friends.