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Japanese Culture and Traditions: December

 

The topic of December is

"OOMISOKA" or "The New Year's Eve"

 

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Oomisoka or the New Year's Eve is the busiest day of the year for preparing the New Year, in Japan. Towards the end of December, people start cleaning the house in every nook and corner, pounding ricecake "mochi", decorating New Year's Pine Decorations "kado matsu" at the gate, offering the ricecake "kamagi mochi" up on the altar. Also preparing the New Year's dishes "osechi ryori" which they eat for at least three days, January 1st, 2nd and 3rd, instead of having regular breakfast. The biggest dinner of the year, similar to that of Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner in U.S.A. While, at the temples, temple bells ring out 108 times from the old year through the new year to get rid of the bad lucks in the old year and welcome the good lucks in the new year. Many people visit temples or shrines from the midnight of the New Year's eve in order to make the first visit to the shrines or temples and pray for good luck, good health, prosperity, happiness, etc. for the coming new year. I sincerely hope that the year 2015 will turn out to be a peaceful year to you and yours. Wishing you a Happy New Year 2015, a year of “Sheep” (Hitsuji) 未年  !!!!!