The new year, “shin-nen” 新年 (しんねん) has already come in Japan and will soon be arriving in the West. We want to thank each one of you who has taken an interest in, read, or commented on our posts in 2020. It’s the fuel that keeps is going. We hope to bring you more fascinating content in 2021.
Did You Know? According to “eto” 干支 (えと) the Zodiac calendar originating in China, 2021 will be the Year of the Ox, or “Ushi-doshi” 牛年 (うしどし).
Speaking of which, the New Year holiday in Japan is called “Oshougatsu” お正月 (おしょうがつ), and is celebrated between January 1 and January 3. If you haven’t yet cooked your “osechi ryouri,” おせち料理 (おせちりょうり), traditional New Year’s cuisine, there is still time! On the other hand, if you missed displaying your New Year’s decorations, unfortunately it’s too late! “Kadomatsu,” 門松 (かどまつ) “shimekazari” しめ飾り (しめかざり), and “kagami-mochi” 鏡もち (かがみもち) are supposed to put out on display no later than the 30th of December, which means, if you haven’t done it yet, you had better wait till next year! Displaying them late is considered unlucky.
For Japanese, a new year means a clean slate, a fresh start. The old has totally gone, and the new has come. This clear demarcation of time is the reason for the end of year bustle for the working population with “bounenkai” 忘年会 (ぼうねんかい), or in the olden days for housewives with cleaning (大掃除 (おおそうじ), “Big Clean”), repapering paper “shouji” 障子 (しょうじ) screens, and cooking “osechi ryouri,” おせち料理 (おせちりょうり).
There is so much to unpack when it comes to New Year’s customs and how you can incorporate them into your own festivities, but we’ll save that for a longer post. While it’s still 2020 in the West, we at Wafuu wish you a good new year to come: