Bebe Taian: Shougatsu: Japanese New Year!

January 1, 2013

Shougatsu: Japanese New Year!

This is the year of the Snake, and good riddance to the year of the Dragon! I hope this year is far better than the last for so, so many people. 新年あけましておめでとうございます!

I've written a little about osechi foods before on New Year's Day. Osechi are special foods eaten on New Years to bring good luck, ward off illnesses, and for other reasons. In Japan, New Years' Day is called Shougatsu. In the new year, many firsts are considered to be important: the first sunrise, the first letter you write, the first dream you have.  These are foretelling of the year to come! There are also lucky/unlucky ages every year, according to superstition. This year is my unlucky year, and it goes in three-year cycles, it seems. So after next year, it will be over! I will try to be careful, and to stay healthy myself, but I have so many goals... surely, I can run myself into the ground now to provide a better future for everyone I care about later? It'll work! It'll totally work! ... this is what I tell myself...

A culture blog I love and learn from, Iromegane, has a very good article from last year about the customs of Shougatsu. I recommend that anyone interested in Japan reads it!

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