Japanese new year

In Japan, there are holidays from the end of December to the beginning of January.
The beginning of January is called New Year, which is a special day.
I would like to introduce New Year’s events and customs.

Eat mochi

Eat mochi made from glutinous rice.
Mochi is an offering to the god of the year that brings happiness for the year, and is also called “Toshidama”.
It means eating rice cakes, which are said to contain Toshigami, and giving them a new life.

Toshigami is a god who descends from a high mountain on New Year’s Day (the morning of January 1st) to bring the happiness of the New Year to the houses.
People in the old days thought that the spirits of their ancestors would become the gods of rice fields and mountains, and in the New Year they would become Toshigami and watch over the prosperity of their offspring. Therefore, in order to give a lot of happiness, we welcome and celebrate the Toshigami.

New Year’s present

It refers to a round rice cake that was an offering to Toshigami, and the rice cake was given to young people as a gift from Toshigami.

It is said that he got older by eating.
It is said that mochi was converted into money from the latter half of the Edo period (1800).

It is one of the fun of the New Year for children.


Visiting a shrine or temple for the first time after the new year is called “Hatsumode”.
We thank you for the year and pray for the safety and peace of the new year.
Many people go to the shrine for the first time, but it is a pity that we have to refrain from going out due to the influence of the COVID-19 this year.


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