Since 1873 the official japanese new year has been celebrated according to the gregorian calendar on january 1 of each year new year s day 元日 ganjitsu however some traditional events of the japanese new year are partially celebrated on the first day of the year on the modern tenpō calendar the. A very traditional new year s activity is preparing the mochi yourself on new year s day.
It is a celebration on the change of the season and the beginning of the new year.
Japanese new year decorations meaning. In japan january 1st is a day to welcome the gods and to pray for the harvest as well as the happiness of the family for the year. Kadomatsu is the landmark for the shinto deity toshigami sama to enter your home. First at the gate of the house or at the door if they don t have a gate you see a pair of bamboo pine leaves ornaments.
The japanese new year 正月 shōgatsu is an annual festival with its own customs. The most common ones i ve have seen are the wreaths hanging from doorways and awnings as well as the pine bamboo and plum blossom floor decorations symbolizing a healthy long life. However the deity only visits when he is invited.
The start of the year is a spiritual time for japan when new year s gods are said to descend from the heavens and exist in the earthly realm. They are called kadomatsu 門松. They are placed after christmas until january 7 or january 15 during the edo period and are considered temporary housing shintai for kami.
A kadomatsu 門松 gate pine is a traditional japanese decoration as yorishiro of the new year placed in pairs in front of homes to welcome ancestral spirits or kami of the harvest. Towards the end of december you will see pine bamboo and rope like decorations adorning homes stores and other buildings to welcome in the new year in japan. Once christmas is over the christmas decorations around town are taken down and preparations for the new year s begins.
Mochi a type of chewy rice cake is a classic japanese new year s food these little round cakes are even used in certain new year s decorations such as the kagami mochi. Japanese new year decorations. In order to guide the gods toward them many households businesses and sacred sites put up pine and bamboo decorations known as kadomatsu on either side of entranceways.
The japanese shinto religion has a myriad of deities it is said to have eight million in fact which reside everywhere around us including in places such the mountains and agricultural fields as well as individual grains of rice and even people s kitchens. There are probably a hundred different types of decorations you can have during japanese new year s. Kado menas gate and matsu means pine tree.
These decorations have roots in shinto the indigenous faith of the japanese and are meant to usher in the new year gods toshigami 年神 who will then bestow a bountiful harvest to farmers and ancestral blessings to the whole family. Traditional japanese shimekazari straw rope decorations. Japan goes into wreath mode during new years.
In japan it is believed that toshigami sama comes to each family to bring happiness on new year s day. During shougatsu japanese houses are decorated with new year ornaments. The kadomatsu decorations take on the role of sign at an entrance to welcome the deity.