How to Celebrate the Japanese New Year


The New Year superstitions are characteristic for almost all countries. In this sense, Japan is not an exception. In Japan in New Year, you should manage to pay all your debts. Like many other countries in Japan, they also put in order their houses and prepare New Year dinner. It is a pleasure to celebrate O-syogatsu, the Japanese New Year, together with the family.
In Japan, on New Year Eve the bells ring for 108 times. It is considered that there exist six human shortcomings: greediness, stupidity, jealousy, anger, light-mindedness and hesitancy. Each of them has 18 shades of expression. And that’s the reason that the bells ring for 108 times, in order to take away the 108 shortcomings. In Japan, it is obligatory to laugh after the bell rings, as they believe that the way you start the year, the same way it will continue.
In Japan, it is nice to meet the New Year in new clothes, moreover, if it is a young girl her kimono can be in light colors and if it is an adult woman, her kimono can be in darker colors. Men wear hakama and haori. In the evening, everybody goes to church to pray. In Japan, it is accepted to meet the sunrise. As we know, Japan is considered “the country of the rising sun”. The Japanese like to give their presents at this time. In Japan, you cannot overlook the issue of choosing presents: nobody should be forgotten. On the Japanese tables, there are always present noodles, as a sign of long life and rice in order not to have financial problems in the coming year. The Japanese drink sweet sake.
In Japan Santa Claus is called Syogatsu-san, which means “Mr. New Year”. Syogatsu-san wears light blue kimono, but he doesn’t give presents, he just congratulates the Japanese.
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translated from Armenian into English by M.Vardanyan