otoshidama for new year


Otoshidama is  a Japanese tradition. Adult are expected to give money on January 1st. I remember the excitement and joy that I felt as a kid because getting 5,000 yen was a huge deal for me back then. I could buy manga, stationary and some clothes. So new year was my favorite time of a year. Usually you put money into small envelopes and then hand them to the children of your relatives and close friends. I have to admit that I have never given otoshidama to children in Japan. I have lived in the States for a long time, and although my cousin has a 7 year old son, I have not had a chance to even meet him yet.

Anyways back to Otoshidama, kids usually get Otoshidama until they graduate from high schools..and then no more. My grand parents in Japan used to mail the money to me if I didn’t get to visit them over the New Year. But it is still common that college students still get Otoshidama from their parents and relatives. I guess the amount of money you should give to children depends on your financial situation and your relationship with the family of the children. But normally only bills are used for Otoshidama so the minimum amount put into an envelope is 1,000 yen. Usually older children got more money than the younger ones, but my boy cousin was getting more money than me every year because somehow my traditional Japanese relatives prefer boys to girls. So he always got the most money. I remember he was getting about $1000 or a little more every year. 🙂

but this is a very interesting tradition and used to be my favorite day of a year..

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