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|Japanese New Year (Oshōgatsu)|
|Official name||Shōgatsu (正月) or Oshōgatsu|
|Also called||new year|
|Significance||Celebrates the new year|
|Begins||December 31/January 1|
|Next time||1 January 2022|
|Related to||New Year's Day, Chinese New Year, Korean New Year, Vietnamese New Year, Mongolian New Year, Tibetan New Year|
The Japanese New Year (正月, Shōgatsu) is an annual festival with its own customs. Since 1873, the official Japanese New Year has been celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar, on January 1 of each year, New Year's Day (元日, Ganjitsu). However, some traditional events of the Japanese New Year are partially celebrated on the first day of the year on the modern Tenpō calendar, the last official lunisolar calendar which was used until 1872 in Japan.
Prior to the Meiji period, the date of the Japanese New Year had been based on Japanese versions of lunisolar calendar (the last of which was the Tenpō calendar) and, prior to Jōkyō calendar, the Chinese version. However, in 1873, five years after the Meiji Restoration, Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar and the first day of January became the official and cultural New Year's Day in Japan.
The Japanese eat a selection of dishes during the New Year celebration called osechi-ryōri , typically shortened to osechi. Many of these dishes are sweet, sour, or dried, so they can keep without refrigeration: the culinary traditions date to a time before households had refrigerators and when most stores closed for the holidays. There are many variations of osechi, and some foods eaten in one region are not eaten in other places (or are even considered inauspicious or banned) on New Year's Day. Another popular dish is ozōni , a soup with mochi rice cake and other ingredients, which differ in various regions of Japan. It is also very common to eat buckwheat noodles called toshikoshi soba on ōmisoka (New Year's Eve). Today, sashimi and sushi are often eaten, as well as non-Japanese foods. To let the overworked stomach rest, seven- herb rice soup (七草粥, nanakusa-gayu) is prepared on the seventh day of January, a day known as jinjitsu .
Another custom is to create and eat rice cakes (mochi). Steamed sticky rice (mochigome) is put into a wooden container usu and patted with water by one person while another person hits it with a large wooden mallet. Mashing the rice, it forms a sticky white dumpling. This is made before New Year's Day and eaten during the beginning of January.
Mochi is made into a New Year's decoration called kagami mochi , formed from two round cakes of mochi with a tangerine (daidai) placed on top. The name daidai is supposed to be auspicious since it means "several generations."
At midnight on December 31, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells a total of 108 times (joyanokane (除夜の鐘)) to symbolize the 108 earthly temptations in Buddhist belief, and to get rid of the 108 worldly desires regarding sense and feeling in every Japanese citizen. A major attraction is The Watched Night bell, in Tokyo. A traditional Japanese belief is that ringing bells can rid the sins of the passing year. The bell is rung 107 times on the 31st and once past midnight.
The end of December and the beginning of January are the busiest for Japanese post offices. The Japanese have a custom of sending New Year's Day postcards (年賀状, nengajō) to their friends and relatives, similar to the Western custom of sending Christmas cards. The original purpose was to give faraway friends and relatives tidings of oneself and one's immediate family— to tell those whom one did not often meet that he/she was alive and well.
Sending these greetings is timed so they will arrive on 1 January. The post office guarantees delivery on that day if the cards are marked with the word nengajō and mailed between mid-December and a few days before year's end. To deliver them on time, the post office usually hires students part-time.
It is customary to refrain from sending these postcards when there has been a death in the family during the year. In this case, a family member sends a simple mourning postcard (喪中葉書, mochū hagaki) to inform friends and relatives that they should not send New Year's cards, out of respect for the deceased.
People get their nengajō from many sources. Stationers sell preprinted cards. Most of these have the Chinese zodiac sign of the New Year as their design, conventional greetings, or both. The Chinese zodiac has a cycle of 12 years. Each year is represented by an animal. The animals are, in order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. 2008 was the year of the Rat, 2009 Ox, 2010 Tiger, 2011 Rabbit, 2012 Dragon, and 2013 Snake. 2020 will be Rat again. Famous characters like Snoopy, (2006) and other cartoon characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, (2008) have been especially popular in their celebrated years.
Addressing is generally done by hand, and is an opportunity to demonstrate one's handwriting (see shodō ). The postcards may have spaces for the sender to write a personal message. Blank cards are available, so people can hand-write or draw their own. Rubber stamps with conventional messages and with the annual animal are on sale at department stores and other outlets, and many people buy ink brushes for personal greetings. Special printing devices are popular, especially among people who practice crafts. Computer software also lets artists create and print their own designs. Very social individuals, who have hundreds of cards to write, may go to print shops and choose from a wide variety of cards prepared with short messages, so the sender only has to address them. Despite the omnipresence of email, the nengajō remains very popular, although the younger generation sends hardly any cards. They prefer to exchange digital greetings via mobile phones, and in recent years the wider society gradually has come to accept digital greetings.
Conventional greetings include:
On New Year's Day, Japanese people have a custom known as otoshidamawhere adult relatives give money to children. It is handed out in small decorated envelopes called pochibukuro, similar to Shūgi-bukuro or Chinese hóngbāo and to the Scottish handsel. In the Edo period, large stores and wealthy families would give out a small bag of mochi and a Mandarin orange to spread happiness all around. The amount of money given depends on the age of the child but is usually the same if there is more than one child so that no one feels slighted. It is not uncommon for amounts greater than ¥5,000 (approximately US$50) to be given.
The New Year traditions are also a part of Japanese poetry, including haiku (poems with 17 syllables, in three lines of five, seven and five) and renga (linked poetry). All of the traditions above would be appropriate to include in haiku as kigo (season words). There are also haiku that celebrate many of the "first" of the New Year, such as the "first sun" (hatsuhi) or "first sunrise", "first laughter" (waraizome—starting the New Year with a smile is considered a good sign), and first dream ( hatsuyume ). Since the traditional New Year was later in the year than the current date, many of these mention the beginning of spring.
Along with the New Year's Day postcard, haiku might mention "first letter" (hatsudayori—meaning the first exchange of letters), "first calligraphy" ( kakizome ), and "first brush" (fude hajime).
It was also customary to play many New Year's games. These include hanetsuki , takoage (kite flying), koma (spinning top), sugoroku , fukuwarai (whereby a blindfolded person places paper parts of a face, such as eyes, eyebrows, a nose and a mouth, on a paper face), and karuta (Japanese playing cards).
There are many shows created as the end-of-year, and beginning-of-year entertainment, and some being a special edition of the regular shows. For many decades, it has been customary to watch the TV show Kōhaku Uta Gassen aired on NHK on New Year's Eve. The show features two teams, red and white, of popular music artists competing against each other.
The final of the Emperor's Cup, the national association football elimination tournament in Japan, takes place on New Year's Day. The final has taken place on New Year's Day since 1969 and is usually aired on NHK.
Mixed martial arts in Japan organizations such as Pride FC and Dream (mixed martial arts) have held events on New Year's Eve and Rizin Fighting Federation has held New Year's Eve events since its founding in 2015.
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with accompanying chorus, is traditionally performed throughout Japan during the New Year's season. In December 2009, for example, there were 55 performances of the symphony by various major orchestras and choirs in Japan.
The Ninth was introduced to Japan during World War I by German prisoners held at the Bandō prisoner-of-war camp.Japanese orchestras, notably the NHK Symphony Orchestra, began performing the symphony in 1925. During World War II, the Imperial government promoted performances of the symphony, including on New Year's Eve, to encourage allegiance to Japanese nationalism. After the war, orchestras and choruses, undergoing economic hard times during the reconstruction of Japan, promoted performances of the piece around New Years because of the popularity of the music with the public. In the 1960s, performances of the symphony at New Years became more widespread, including participation by local choirs and orchestras, and established the tradition which continues to this day.
There is also an associated festival of Little New Year ( 小正月 , koshōgatsu), traditionally celebrating the first full moon of the new year, on the 15th day of the first lunar month (approximately mid-February). This is now sometimes celebrated on January 15, in various respects. The main events of Koshōgatsu are rites and practices praying for a bountiful harvest; rice gruel with adzuki beans (小豆粥, azukigayu) is traditionally eaten in the morning and is involved in the rice gruel divination ceremony. Further, New Year decorations are taken down around this date, and some temples hold events, such as at Tōrin-in.
This corresponds to the Chinese Lantern Festival.
The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is a choral symphony, the final complete symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven, composed between 1822 and 1824. It was first performed in Vienna on 7 May 1824. The symphony is regarded by many critics and musicologists as Beethoven's greatest work and one of the supreme achievements in the history of music. One of the best-known works in common practice music, it stands as one of the most performed symphonies in the world.
Tết, short for Tết Nguyên Đán , Spring Festival,Lunar New Year, orVietnamese Lunar New Year is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture. The colloquial term "Tết" is a shortened form of Tết Nguyên Đán, with Sino-Vietnamese origins meaning "Festival of the First Morning of the First Day". Tết celebrates the arrival of spring based on the Vietnamese calendar, which usually has the date falling in January or February in the Gregorian calendar.
Japanese festivals are traditional festive occasions. Some festivals have their roots in Chinese festivals centuries ago, but have undergone great changes as they mixed with local customs.
Osechi-ryōri are traditional Japanese New Year foods. The tradition started in the Heian period (794–1185). Osechi are easily recognizable by their special boxes called jūbako (重箱), which resemble bentō boxes. Like bentō boxes, jūbako are often kept stacked before and after use.
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain japonica glutinous rice, and sometimes other ingredients such as water, sugar, and cornstarch. The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time.
Ōmisoka (大晦日)—or ōtsugomori (大晦)—is a Japanese traditional celebration on the last day of the year. Traditionally, it was held on the final day of the 12th lunar month. With Japan's switch to using the Gregorian calendar at the beginning of the Meiji era, December 31 is now used for the celebration.
Japanese calendar types have included a range of official and unofficial systems. At present, Japan uses the Gregorian calendar together with year designations stating the year of the reign of the current Emperor. The written form starts with the year, then the month and finally the day. For example February 16, 2003 can be written 2003年2月16日. 年 reads nen and means "year", 月 reads gatsu and means "month" and finally 日 reads nichi and means "day".
Lunar New Year is the beginning of a calendar year whose months are moon cycles, based on the lunar calendar or lunisolar calendar.
The Mid-Autumn Festival also known as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated by many East and Southeast Asian people. It is the second-most important holiday after Chinese New Year with a history dating back 3,000 years, when China's emperors worshipped the moon for bountiful harvests.
Kigo is a word or phrase associated with a particular season, used in traditional forms of Japanese poetry. Kigo are used in the collaborative linked-verse forms renga and renku, as well as in haiku, to indicate the season referred to in the stanza. They are valuable in providing economy of expression.
A greeting card is a piece of card stock, usually with an illustration or photo, made of high quality paper featuring an expression of friendship or other sentiment. Although greeting cards are usually given on special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas or other holidays, such as Halloween, they are also sent to convey thanks or express other feelings.
The observance of Christmas around the world varies by country. The day of Christmas, and in some cases the day before and the day after, are recognized by many national governments and cultures worldwide, including in areas where Christianity is a minority religion. In some non-Christian areas, periods of former colonial rule introduced the celebration ; in others, Christian minorities or foreign cultural influences have led populations to observe the holiday.
The Mongolian Lunar New Year, commonly known as Tsagaan Sar, is the first day of the year according to the Mongolian lunisolar calendar. The festival of the Lunar New Year is celebrated by the Mongols and some Turkic peoples. The holiday has shamanistic influences.
Etiquette in Japan form common societal expectations of social behavior practiced throughout the nation of Japan and is highly esteemed. Like many social cultures, etiquette varies greatly depending on one's status relative to the person in question.
Zōni, often with the honorific "o-" as o-zōni, is a Japanese soup containing mochi rice cakes. The dish is strongly associated with the Japanese New Year and its tradition of osechi ceremonial foods. Zōni is considered the most auspicious of the dishes eaten on New Year's Day. The preparation of zōni varies both by household and region.
Kagami mochi, is a traditional Japanese New Year decoration. It usually consists of two round mochi, the smaller placed atop the larger, and a daidai with an attached leaf on top. In addition, it may have a sheet of konbu and a skewer of dried persimmons under the mochi. It sits on a stand called a sanpō (三宝) over a sheet called a shihōbeni (四方紅), which is supposed to ward off fires from the house for the following years. Sheets of paper called gohei (御幣) folded into lightning shapes similar to those seen on sumo wrestler's belts are also attached.
Korean New Year is a festival and national holiday commemorating the first day of the Korean calendar, which in turn originated from lunisolar calendar. It is one of the most important traditional Korean holidays. The celebration usually lasts three days: the day before Korean New Year, Korean New Year itself, and the day after Korean New Year. During this time, many Koreans visit family, perform ancestral rites, wear hanbok (한복), eat traditional food, and play folk games. Additionally, children often receive money from their elders after performing a formal bow.
Chinese New Year, Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. In Chinese culture and Asian countries within Sinosphere, the festival is also commonly referred to as Spring Festival as the spring season in the lunisolar calendar traditionally starts with lichun, the first of the twenty-four solar terms which the festival celebrates around the time of the Lunar New Year. Marking the end of winter and the beginning of the spring season, observances traditionally take place from New Year’s Eve, the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February.
Toshikoshi soba (年越し蕎麦), "year-crossing noodle", is Japanese traditional noodle bowl dish eaten on ōmisoka . This custom lets go of hardship of the year because soba noodles are easily cut while eating.