Gantan means New year’s Day (January 1st) and it is a Japanese holiday. January 1st is one of the most important days in Japan. Oshougatsu is considered to be even more important than Christmas in Japan. “Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu” means “Happy New Year” in Japanese. You can say “Akemashite Omedetou” (Happy New Year) whenever you meet your friends and family at the first time in the new year. There are Japanese traditions for New Year so I thought it would be nice to share these customs with you.
- Osechi Ryouri: Special dishes packed in a special box which has several layers. My grandparents used to make Osechi Ryouri so we can get together and enjoy the food on the 1st.
- Mochi: Rice cake and Mochi dishes. It is a Japanese custom to eat Mochi on the New Year.
- Otoshidama: This was my favorite custom when I was a child. It is a custom to give money to children during New Year’s holidays in Japan. Now, I have to give money to mu cousins’ children.
- Shrine and Temple: Japanese people go to a temple or shrine during the New Year to pray for good fortune, safety etc.
- Nengajyou: Japanese new year’s card. Japanese people send New Year’s postcards to friends, amily and coworkers. People usually mail the postcards in advance so they will be delivered on January 1st. New Year’s postcards come with lottery numbers and the winners will get electronics, stamps and various other items. (not cash!) But we have to be very careful not to send Nengajyou to people who lost their family that year.
Japanese New Year is a family event while Christmas is a romantic day.
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