JAPANESE NEW YEAR Japanese New Year celebration is called shogatsu. It's the most important holiday in Japan.

People say to each other "akemashite-omedetou-gozaimasu" (Happy New Year) whenever they see at the first time in the new year. The first day of the year (ganjitsu) is usually spent with members of the family. On the 2nd and 3rd days acquaintances visit one another to extend greetings (nenshi) and sip otoso (a spiced rice wine). Some games played at New Year's are karuta (a card game), hanetsuki (similar to badminton), tako age (kiteflying), and komamawashi (spinning tops). These games are played to bring more luck for the year. Exchanging New Year's greeting cards (similar to Christmas Cards ) is another important Japanese custom. Also special allowances are given to children, which are called otoshidama. They also decorate their entrances with kagami mochi (two mochi rice balls placed one on top of the other, with a tangerine on top), and kadomatsu (pine tree decorations). -wiki Japanese people eat special dishes called osechi ryori during shogatsu. They are packed in a Jubako box, which has several layers. Each dish has a particular meaning. For example, prawns for long life, herring roe for fertility, and so on. It is also traditional to eat mochi (rice cake) dishes during New Year's holidays. Zouni (rice cake soup) is the most popular mochi dish. The ingredients vary depending on regions and families. There is a custom of giving money to children during New Year's holidays in Japan. It's called otoshidama. If you are going to family gatherings, it's good to prepare some money in small envelopes. It is traditional for Japanese people to visit a shrine or a temple during New Year's holidays. People pray for safety, health, good fortune, and so on. The first visit to a temple or shrine in a year is called hatsumoude. Many well-known temples and shrines are extremely crowded. Some temples and shrines expect a couple million visitors during New Year's holidays each year. Most of businesses in Japan are typically closed around the 29th or 30th of December to the 3rd or 4th of January, depending on the kind of business and day of week. In recent years, many restaurants, convenience stores, supermarkets, and department stores are open even during New Year's holidays. Many department stores hold New Year's special sales, so it might be worth it to check the prices out if you have shopping needs. http://gojapan.about.com/cs/japaneseholidays/a/newyearday.htm

It is for all the women who have just become legal adults (age 20). they usually wear business suits. Throughout most of Japan.com/articles/view/festivals/29/seijin-shiki-coming-of-age-day -par 2 .Seijin No Hi is the first holiday of the year after New Year's is all over. It's one of the few times you will see anyone wear a kimono -. gain the right to vote. Meanwhile. but much more extravagant kimono can be even as high as a million yen each. etc. The typical kimono is 300-400 thousand yen.html http://www. though. success. have far less expensive needs.except for the grannies running around going to study or teach tea ceremony.jappleng.thejapanfaq.yamasa. On the day the young lady will typically go to a nearby Shinto Shrine and pray for health. thus making the age of twenty is the age of adulthood in Japan. money. The other occasions are graduation from a college. and most families buy a kimono for their daughter. http://www. 5 http://www. finding men dressed in hakama (dark traditional kimono) is fairly common as well. twenty is the age where people are subjected to adult laws. and to drink. and once in a while at a wedding.html . men who are coming of age.org/acjs/network/english/newsletter/things_japanese_24_3.com/celebrations.

White Day is believed to have been introduced by a marshmallow manufacturing company in the 1960s. The white marshmallows gave the day its name but other kinds of presents such as candy.org/socimages/2010/02/12/celebrating-valentines-day-in-japan/ -par2 and 3 There are two types of chocolates that women give men. While women do give Valentine’s gifts to male partners.japan-guide. http://www.html -par2 In the U. it is only the women giving presents . and White Day one month later on March 14.mainly chocolate . a Japanese creation. In Japan. In Japan. Valentine's Day was imported to Japan in 1958 by a Japanese confectionery company. have become more popular over the years.‖ is relatively cheap and is what you give to coworkers and the like: . the emphasis among adults is on men giving items to women: flowers.S. taking them out to dinner. flowers. and so on. Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14.Valentine's Day and White Day St. the roles are reversed: women give chocolates to men. but not the other way around. It apparently isn’t entirely clear how this tradition emerged. Men are supposed to return the favours received on Valentine's Day one month later on White Day. candy. however. It is said that St. http://thesocietypages. or ―obligation chocolate. Giri-choco. Valentine’s Day is pretty much for women. cards. or can give a less expensive/significant present. In many cases women aren’t expected to reciprocate.. as well as often buying gifts and providing meals. etc.to men. and I doubt many give flowers or chocolate in heart-shaped boxes.com/topic/0003.

Honmei-choco is higher-quality chocolate reserved for men a woman is close to–partners or perhaps a family member: In recent years. These chocolates are called "tomo (friend) choco.about.htm -par2 ." http://japanesefood. many Japanese young women exchange chocolate gifts with their female friends.com/cs/holidays/a/valentinechoco.

Parents who are able to do so buy new sets of dolls for a girl baby born since the preceding festival. from generation to generation.19 centuries). . three kanjo (court ladies). It was customary up to the prewar years for them to invite their small friends to these parties at which they partook of the sweets and food offered to the dolls. They are displayed for a few days in the best room of the house at this festival time. a heritage of the household.(by the Solar Calendar) is called "Hina-no-Sekku". just when the pleasant spring season started. The dolls most highly valued are the Dairi-sama. into the water. In the old days. they went together to a nearby brook or river. They are attended by their two ministers. the Emperor at the left of the Empress. tiny white and red dainties of osekihan (glutinous rice boiled with red beans) and colored wheat gluten."Hina-Matsuri" (Doll's Festival) or "Momo-no-Sekku" (Peach blossom's Festival) which used to be one of the important seasonal events of ancient China and has now developed into a function symbolic of Japanese arts and customs and has been in existence in Japan since the Edo Period (17 . Also the date which this festival is held marks the onset of spring. a sweet mild rice wine.hishi mochi (diamond-shaped rice cakes) fruit-shaped candy. long and covered with bright red cloth. Hina-matsuri used to be one of the very few occasions when little Japanese girls had their own parties. All are displayed on a tier of steps. handed down. which represent the Emperor and Empress in resplendent court costumes of silk. A set of Hina-dolls usually consists of at least 15 dolls. from 3 to 6 ft. The 3rd of March . and cast them. The dolls are not the everyday dolls usually played with but are ceremonial dolls. made crude dolls of paper. Old country families still treasure their family hina-matsuri dolls and doll furniture which are preserved for centuries. on March 3 by the Lunar Calendar. Sometimes they cooked and prepared the food and cakes to be offered to the dolls."Hina-Matsuri" (Doll's Festival) or "Momo-no-Sekku" (Peach blossom's Festival) which used to be one of the important seasonal events of ancient China and has now developed into a function symbolic of Japanese arts and customs and has been in existence in Japan since the Edo Period (17 .of gentility. after which they are carefully boxed and put away until the next year. It was thus an occasion for a family outing. The colorful air of both the dolls and the young girls add to the gaiety of this festival. The main offerings are small cakes . Brides used to take their own dolls to their new homes. and relatives and friends make gifts of dolls. many of them. Peach blossoms. The blossoms signify the feminine traits . They drank Shirozake. The display also includes miniature household articles which often are exquisite artistic productions. the other dolls are arranged on the lower tiers. usually five. Court ladies and banquet trays and dishes occupy the second tier. women and children. bearing all their evils. symbolizing a happy marriage. composure and tranquility. and five court musicians. all the people. men. The Imperial couple occupy the top step.Hina Matsuri / Doll Festival Girl's Day / March 3rd The 3rd of March .(by the Solar Calendar) is called "Hina-no-Sekku". on the occasion. are indispensable decorations of this festival day. Gathering the dolls. all in the ancient costumes. This stand is specially set up in the home only on this day. and in making them they transferred their ill fortunes or sickness to the dolls.19 centuries).

their joy and pride in them.jpg .com/pages/girlsday.org/wiki/File:HinaSet. ancestor worship. Families observe it to encourage filial piety.wikipedia. and their desire to please them. and this love often impels poor parents to sell some of their belongings to buy dolls and decorations for the festival. but above all is the love of children by Japanese parents. http://www.ginkoya.html http://en.Many interpretations are given about the festival. loyalty.

If you do not like a crowd. Hanami literally means viewing flowers. It's fun to stop by festival vendors which sell . Joining tea ceremonies held under cherry trees can be a memorable experience as well. Nowadays. In popular hanami spots. Most of them are held between March to May. former About. though other regions have them in January. Cherry blossom festivals take place all over the country. The most popular kind of Japanese cherry (sakura) tree which can be found everywhere in Japan is somei-yoshino (Yedoensis). and June. but it generally indicates cherry blossom viewing. It is like a picnic under the trees. Sakura trees bloom at different times throughout Japan.com Guide See More About:  japan attractions Cherry Blossom Festival Photo (c) Shizuko Mishima Hanami is an important Japanese custom and is held all over Japan in spring. Festival dates are usually determined with reference to cherry blossom forecasts and vary from year to year. and the blooming period of somei-yoshino is usually short. February. do BBQ. or buy take-out food for hanami.HANAMI Cherry Blossom Festivals Hanami From Shizuko Mishima. but a variety of traditional Japanese performing arts presented in many festivals can't be missed. you can go to neighborhood parks/gardens or other quiet places. based on their location. there are even competitions for the best spots. It's said that the origin of hanami dates back to more than one thousand years ago when aristocrats enjoyed looking at beautiful cherry blossoms and wrote poems. drinking and eating. people in Japan have fun viewing cherry blossoms. Gorgeous flowers are main attractions of the festivals. People bring home-cooked meals.

For a pleasing floral-tart taste.‖ this annual celebration is about appreciating the temporal beauty of nature. http://gojapan. The festival dates vary by location and year.Japanese sweets) and seasonally decorated teaware can echo the beauty of nature in your hanami tea ritual. including regional crafts and speciality food in the region. drink.htm Hanami: The Cherry Blossom Festival Welcomes Spring Spring Means Cherry Blossom Time! Hanami is a long-standing Japanese tradition of welcoming spring. Although the traditional beverage of choice for hanami is sake. . as the trees bloom at different times with weather and climate variations. songs.about. Seasonal foods (like wagashi. assorted Japanese foods and some seasonal tea accoutrements. It's notable that many cherry blossom festivals hold light-up events in the evening. you can also drink tea. This year. People gather under blooming cherry blossoms for food. Also known as the ―cherry blossom festival. You can also embrace the wabi-sabi nature of hanami by drinking organic matcha from a chawan-style teacup. wagashi. organically grown sakura can be blended with green tea or black tea and then brewed in a kyusu (teapot…with or without floral decorations). but they are typically in late March through May and last a few days to a few weeks. I plan to celebrate hanami with friends over matcha. fresh.com/cs/cherryblossoms/a/sakurafestival. companionship and the beauty of sakura (cherry blossoms). Celebrations begin in the day and often last into the night.various food and souveniors.

which we’ll use to eat wagashi before drinking matcha. which we’ll use for holding chopsticks (obviously).com/hanami-the-cherry-blossom-festival-welcomes-spring/ . cherry blossom kaishi papers.Hanami Tea Accoutrements: Fukin with chawan motif. The pink cloth is a fukin (washcloth) portraying chawan (tea bowls). hence the steam.The blue chawan pictured have hot matcha in them. and kyusushaped hashioki A few seasonal tea items a friend in Japan gave me are pictured here. and a kyusu-shaped hashioki (chopstick holder). On top of the fukin is some sakura kaishi (papers with cherry blossom motif). How will you celebrate springtime with tea this year? -Lindsey ―Vee‖ for Samovar Life http://samovarlife.

The candy comes in a long white paper bag decorated with symbols of longevity such as pine.and seven-year-old girls visit a Shinto shrine with their parents. The shichi-go-san customs followed today evolved in the Meiji era (1868-1912). 2006 in Autumn. while boys wear ―haori‖ jackets and hakama trousers. or they wear nice Western-style dresses and suits. Since the day is not a national holiday. It has become common for parents to take formal pictures of their children on this day. Following the visit. The name means ―thousand-year candy.‖ and it includes traditions and celebrations for boys aged three and five. three. CULTURES. November 15 was chosen because it was considered one of the most auspicious days of the year in the Japanese almanac. and tortoises. focused on celebrating their good health and longevity. prosperous lives. http://worldculturenet. Origins of Shichi-Go-San The festival is said to have started in the Heian period (794-1185) where the nobles celebrated the passage of their children into middle childhood on a lucky day in November. parents allowed children to start growing their hair at the age of three. By the Edo period (1603-1868). Shinto | Comments [2] | Post a Comment On November 15 is Shichi-go-san in Japan – a day that is a rite of passage for young children. boys first wore ―hakama‖ — a traditional covering for the lower body — in public at age five. on that day. thin. The festival was subsequently set on the fifteenth of that month during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Childhood. bamboo. CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS. odd numbers are lucky numbers.and five-year-old boys and three. parents generally buy ―chitose-ame‖ — a long. red-and-white-colored candy. and for girls aged three and seven. cranes. and girls first tied their kimono with an ―obi‖ sash. Most girls wear kimonos when making their Shichi-go-san visit. Traditionally. In many regions. Tokumatsu. Japanese. In Japanese numerology. Candy. when Shogun Tsunayoshi Tokugawa was said to be celebrating the growth of his son. HOLIDAYS.Shichi Go San Shichi-Go-San Matsuri (“Seven-Five-Three Festival”) Published November 14. Shichi-go-san literally translates as ―Seven-Five-Three. most families pay their shichi-go-san respects on the weekend just before or just after November 15. instead of a cord. who began visiting shrines to have prayers offered by priests.com/2006/11/14/shichi-go-san-matsuri-%E2%80%9Cseven-five-threefestival%E2%80%9D/ . The candy and the bag are both expressions of parents’ wish that their children lead long.‖ to represent many years of life. at age seven. the festival spread to commoners. plums.

they are given between companies. Only 1/2 of 1% of the Japanese population is estimated to be Christian. extending a girl an invitation to be together on Christmas Eve has very deep. so fancy restaurants and hotels are often booked solid at this time.Christmas in Japan By: Billy Hammond Christmas in Japan is quite different from the Chrismas celebrated in most countries in which the population has a large percentage of Christians or a Christian heritage. Christmas presents tend to be things which are cute and sometimes slightly expensive because of the relationship to the person to which they are given to. although December 23rd. It is often also a time when girls get to reveal their affections to boys and vice versa. which is the birthdate of the present emperor.V. with the majority of Japanese being tolerant of all faiths: Buddhism. thanks to the marketing prowess of the folks at Kentucky Fried Chicken. and family friends. Stores all over carry versions of this Christmas cake and drop the price of it drastically on December 25th in order to sell everything out by the 26th. etc. These presents are usually . Many Japanese even make reservations for their "Christmas Chicken" ahead of time. Because of this. Christmas cards are also given to close friends. Christmas Eve has been hyped by the T. rings and other jewelry. most Japanese now believe that Westerners celebrate Christmas with a chicken dinner instead of the more common ham or turkey. romantic implications. is. Although it is not an official holiday the Japanese tend to celebrate Christmas. flowers. People line up at their outlets to pick up their orders. As a result of KFC's brilliant advertising campaign. In recent years. however. scarves. Christmas presents are exchanged between people with romantic commitments as well as close friends. the Japanese are great lovers of festivals and celebrations. More obligatory year-end presents are given during this season as well to people who have done you a favor during the year. The Japanese celebrate Christmas Eve by eating a 'Christmas Cake' which the father of the family purchases on his way home from work (or his wife does in the case where he has to work on Christmas Eve). to bosses. Shinto. especially in a commercial way. the Christmas Chicken Dinner has become quite popular. to teachers. The presents tend to be 'cute' presents and often include Teddy Bears. December 25th is not a national holiday in Japan. This has resulted in a rather interesting expression in which young girls are referred to as a 'Christmas cakes': marriageable until their 25th birthday and requiring heavy discounts to get married after their 25th birthdays. in contrast to Christmas presents. including Christmas. These presents are known as 'Oseibo' and are generally things which are perishable or which wear out quickly for which the price can readily be checked because of the system of 'on' and 'giri' (loosely translated obligation and reciprocity). It is seen as a time to be spent with one's boyfriend or girlfriend in a romantic setting. In spite of this. media as being a time for romantic miracles. Christianity.

etc. subways. This phenomena leads to streets. due to the season.html .purchased at department stores so that the recipient can check the price and return something which relates to the scale of reciprocity. often book a section of a restaurant to have drinking parties. Company groups. Christmas lighting and displays are often up at the end of October and this year many stores have displays featuring Teddy Bears. sports groups. Tickets to these shows. actors. come closer to the American-European idea of assembling family and friends.Valentine's Day. which constitute the main holiday season for the Japanese. The New Year's holidays. hobby groups. and trains full of people in varied states of intoxication during this season. known as 'bonenkai' [forget the old year parties]. Christmas seems to be closer to the Western concept of St. http://tanutech. For the more elderly couples. are very pricy. and actresses. many hotels host dinner shows featuring major singers. The Christmas season comes during the month of the year-end parties. There is also a trend developing for make-it-yourself presents.com/japan/jxmas.