Japan – a country with a strong development in economics, science and technology, … and especially Japanese culture – a traditional value spreading not only domestically but also outside the international community. Today, in the process of integration, the overwhelming Western culture has brought a great influence on Japanese culture, making Japan no longer welcome the Lunar New Year like other Asian countries. However, the traditional Japanese New Year always preserves the typical cultural nuances of the East.
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Vietnam – Japan has long established diplomatic relations with cooperation and exchanges extending from politics, economy, science, technology and culture. The vibrant cultural exchange between the two countries has contributed to promoting artistic cooperation, is an opportunity to better understand the culture and society of the two countries and increase the connection between the two countries’ young generations. Therefore, “The traditional festival of Oshougatsu” has become a regular program to recreate the atmosphere and activities of traditional Japanese New Year in Vietnam. This annual non-profit program is designed to develop Vietnamese-Japanese cultural exchange, in addition to introduce to Vietnamese the characteristics of customs, customs, traditional Japanese dishes and games. This traditional Tet holiday.
So what is Oshougatsu?
January in Japan is called “Oshougatsu” which means “Main Moon”. The traditional New Year in Japanese called “Oshougatsu” is derived from the custom of welcoming the new year deity Toshigamisama, the god of health, luck and prosperity. In the past, when Japan still celebrated the Lunar New Year like other Asian countries, Oshougatsu was used to call a New Year’s Eve celebration. However, Japan later turned to celebrate New Year, which is the first day of the private calendar month – one of the most important traditional holidays of the year, an occasion for people in the family to gather and wish. celebrate the New Year together.
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The Oshougatsu New Year takes place from January 1 to 3. Japanese people prepare for the festival from December 8 to December 12. On these days, all families clean, prepare utensils and decorate their homes for the New Year. January 1 is an important day, marking the start of a new year. It is believed that watching the sun rise on this day is the best thing to do to welcome a prosperous, lucky and good new year. The Japanese New Year has similarities with Eastern countries, but also has a distinctive feature of different customs and practices with many special rituals and styles of a country rich in traditions.
Hang Shimenawa in front of the house
On this occasion, Japanese families will place in front of the gate of the house or the bamboo company or the Kadomatsu tree consisting of pine branches arranged in fresh bamboo tubes, crossed. The Japanese concept of bamboo as a ladder to welcome the new year god, while pine brings luck and longevity. In addition, other items such as ropes twisted with hay, white paper strips are also used to decorate, symbolizing the wishes of the Japanese in the New Year. In addition, the Japanese also hung Shimekazari charms on the Oshougatsu day in the sense of not letting demons into the house.
お 正月 05 shimekazari-big
Legend has it that the god Toshigamisama will come to earth and hide in this pine tree. In the past, people used to erect pine trees on December 13, which is the start of the work to prepare for Tet. As recently was the 27th or 28th, but people avoid erecting conifer trees on the 29th and New Year’s Eve. On the door frames of many Japanese families, items such as white leaf knitwear, tangerines, grass-braided rope, white paper strips are also decorated. Tung represents the eternal youth; orange citrus fruit symbolizes eternity of prosperity; grass braided rope is hung at the shrine or place of worship, dedicated to the gods to pray for fortune; white leaves represent flawless chastity; while the white paper strip is meant to clean up stains and ward off evil spirits.
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Worshiping ancestors and gods
Like other Asian countries, the New Year is an occasion to honor grandparents, ancestors, and gods. They put various kinds of cakes, Tokonoma cakes on the altar, to pay homage, and look forward to the blessings of the gods. The essence of ancestor worship is to convey the belief that the living as well as the dead have a close relationship and support each other. Children and grandchildren visit and pray to the ancestors, the ancestors will protect and lead the posterity. This is a very important ceremony to commemorate. show respect and filial piety to the deceased.
Traditional Activities of the Day Oshougatsu
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Like the traditional New Year in Vietnam, during the days of Oshougatsu, Japanese people also eat year-end rice, write postcards, lucky money for children and go to temple …
To celebrate Oshougatsu, they prepare by cleaning the house clean with the concept of washing away the misfortunes of the old year, welcoming the best of the new year. The last day of the old year, the Japanese will eat a year-end meal together with a large number of family members. The meal is carefully prepared with traditional dishes made from cereals, fish and seafood. During the meal, everyone will talk and share about their plans for the new year with a warm and happy atmosphere.
On the 1st day of Tet, eat Ozoni thick cake
In the ancient legend of Japan, on the first day of the new year, the god Toshidon appeared, gifting good children and obeying their parents Ozoni. Since then, with the desire to enjoy many gifts from the gods, the Japanese often eat Ozono on the 1st of Tet.
Lucky money at the beginning of the year
Japanese people often have the tradition of writing postcards during Tet. This is similar to Western culture where the sender of a postcard will write the best wishes, expressing the most sincere feelings to the person they love. This custom also clearly shows the culture of “thank you” of the Japanese people.
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Just like in Vietnam, on New Year’s Day, Japanese children also receive happy money from parents, grandparents and relatives. The lucky money is called Otoshidama. Otoshidama are given to children by adults with the hope that in the new year, by a new age, that child will quickly grow up, mature and succeed in school.
In Japan, the Takoage kite flying is quite popular during the New Year. The kites have different shapes and decorations depending on the locality. There are also many traditional games such as Hanetsuki badminton, playing Komamawashi, … This is an activity that attracts a lot of participants and responds.
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Go to the temple at the beginning of the new year
Going to the temple at the beginning of the year has become a Japanese custom, and the temples have become the most popular places to visit. People come to temples and pagodas to pray for happiness and good luck in the new year. They often buy amulets, and draw hexagrams and use them to contemplate for the coming days of the year.
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Oshougatsu 08 go yet
Unlike some countries, visiting relatives and friends’ homes is not a popular activity for Japanese people because Oshougatsu is a reunion and reunion, so Japanese New Year is mostly closed within the family. In Japan there is no tradition of setting off firecrackers on New Year’s Day, so the New Year’s atmosphere is relatively calm.
Japanese Oshougatsu with interesting customs and rituals that have been held for centuries and have developed unique traditions, and besides, this is a way to spread Japanese culture to people at home and abroad.