About Japanese Customs upon Welcoming the New Year
Happy New Year!!
As this is our first edition on our blog in 2017, I would like to provide a simple guideline and speak upon Japanese customs related to our new year celebration.
We call the days from January 1st to the 3rd “San ga nichi”, an auspicious time to appreciate the fact that we were able to welcome the new year. This is the time we call “oshougatsu” as a whole, and many people take days off for the holidays to spend time with families and to have a grand celebration, although much more quiet than in the U.S. for comparison.
During oshogatsu period, we have distinct customs and one of them is decorating a “shimenawa”, a sacred or holy straw rope tied in a knot, on the front door. This can be traced back to Shintoism in Japan. It was said in the past that every year, that particular year’s divine spirit would be present on earth from the heavens and as a preparation to welcome the divine god we decorate our doors with the shimenawa, the holy rope.
In addition, we have a custom of sending greeting cards at the end of the year to those we are indebted to through associations in the passing year. Or, “osechi” cuisine that is only consumed during the oshogatsu period, and also a ritual to pay one’s respect to the shrine. These customs are deeply engrained in the fabric of our culture even today.
We have shipped our rain chains to many different countries but I assume that every country has its own customs to welcome the new year. Sometime in the future, I hope to spend the new year season in other countries to experience its unique custom.
As in the years past, we received many orders from various countries abroad and even received pictures of them being installed!
I wish all those that purchased our proud handmade rain chains and everyone visiting our site a Happy New Year and wish for a prosperous 2017!!