Oshogatsu is Japanese New Year. It means January 1 but is traditionally celebrated during the first three days of the new year.
Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu, minna!
or simply Happy New Year everyone!
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For a lot of people, New Years is their favorite time of year, especially in Japan. Did you know that until the Gregorian calendar was adopted (five years after the Meiji era restoration) Japanese new year was celebrated based on the Chinese lunar calendar?! =^.^= However, a lot of oshogatsu traditions remain including ttraditional foods, bell ringing, and postcards.
We wanted to share some illustrations (an explanation) of kadomatsu and kagami mochi done by Imani for Learn Japan. Please visit for more on oshogatsu traditions. Also, feel free to stop by the comments section and share your New Year’s traditions. See ya there! <3
かどまつ → 門松
New Year decorations of three cut bamboo sticks and pine tree branches and are put up in the entrances of buildings or houses
The bamboo shoots, which represent heaven, earth and humanity, are believed to attract the gods. The gods dwell in the pine until Jan 7, after which time the decorations are taken to a shrine to be burnt, releasing the spirits back to their realm.
かがみもち → 鏡餅
two round rice cakes and a mandarin (mikan) on top
Traditionally, the cakes were adorned with a different citrus fruit known as “daidai,” which were considered auspicious as the meaning of the word can be translated to “generation after generation”, representing the family’s wish for a long and prosperous bloodline. The rice cakes are supposed to be an homage to the mirror of the sun goddess Amaterasu. With its round, mirror-like shape, “kagami-mochi” symbolizes the renewal of light and energy at the start of a new year.
Did you enjoy this? What other language and culture information would you like to see shared here? Feel free to leave feedback in the comments section below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maybe next year we can exchange nengajo! ~.^