How Japan celebrates the New Year
It's now 2023, and chances are you spent New years eve with family or friends to watch the countdown. In the west it's become its own recognised celebration and people stock up and hunker down to enjoy it. However, over in Japan, how do they celebrate the new year?
Fukubukuro - Lucky bags!
So for any lover of Japanese fashion or pop culture, then this tradition will be right up your street! Fukubukuro are lucky bags that are rammed full of the previous year's merchandise. Many stores and brands take part in this and use it as a time to rotate out stock whilst giving customers the option of grabbing loot at significantly lower prices. It's a great opportunity to bulk out your wardrobe or take a gamble on getting merchandise of your favourite character.
Some USA & UK retailers and importers also offer lucky bags, either directly from the stores in Japan or by creating some themselves.
Deep cleaning the home
Similar to western ideas of new years resolutions and wanting to start fresh on a new year, Japan also has a tradition of Oosuji. This tradition is where many families and shops do a full extensive clear out from top to bottom, deep cleaning the property, clearing any debts or favours, and removing anything that's no longer needed (this is also linked to fukubukuro). Families and businesses get to enter the new year with a renewed feeling of freshness and potential.
First shrine visit of the year
A traditional Japanese custom is to visit their local shrine early on in the new year (usually within the first few days). Families will all attend together to pay their respects and take part in local celebrations that may be held there. Local food stands and blessings for the new year can be enjoyed, with the opportunity to pick up lucky charms to bring luck for the year ahead. Along with lucky charms, you can also get fortune telling tickets (Omikuji). You can also expect food stalls at these places to be serving things like Mochi and Soba noodles.
New year in Japan isn’t too dissimilar from our own celebrations, it’s a time to clear out the previous years clutter and start fresh. Celebrating with loved ones and family, and asking for good blessings and fortunes for the year ahead.
How do you celebrate new year?
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