Japanese New Year Eve

Today I would love to introduce Japanese New Year Eve.

As you know we celebrate New Year Days rather than a Christmas day. Before we welcome a new year day, we clean up our house. I think in America people clean up their house in spring, and it is called “spring cleaning”. In Japan around Christmas, we start to clean up our house to welcome a next year.

Japanese wives become very busy to prepare for the new year. We have to clean up our house, and in addition, we also have to cook special food called “osechi (おせち)” in Japanese. We have “osechi” on the 1st of January morning. I will explain about Japanese New Year on my next blog entry, so on this entry I would love to focus on New Year Eve.

On New Year Eve we have “toshikoshisoba (年越しそば)”. In Japan when we have the soba on New Year Eve, we believe that we can make our life span longer. Soba is a black Japanese noddle made from “soba” flour. In my family’s case we eat “soba” while we are watching “kouhaku utagassen (紅白歌合戦)” on TV. Since the TV show is very poplar among Japanese people, I do not think there is no people who never watch the show before. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dhaku_Uta_Gassen

After “Kouhaku utagassen”, we watch “yukutoshi kurutoshi (ゆく年、くる年) on the same channel. I prefer “yukutoshi kurutoshi” because we can hear different sounds of “jyoya no kane”. I have some experience that I have gone to some temples to hit a Japanese bell. The tradition relate to Buddhism. In Buddhism, we have 108 worldly desires ( The word “worldly desires” is called “bonnou (煩悩)” in Japanese.). So, while we are hitting a bell in a temple 108 times, we try to get rid of the “bonnou” from us. I love the bell sounds very much.

After we finish hearing the 108th bell sounds, we welcome our new year.

                                                                                  toshikoshi soba (年越しそば)

   kouhaku utagassen (紅白歌合戦)

  jyoya no kane  (除夜の鐘)


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