Japanese Traditions: Ōmisoka – New year’s traditions

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Japanese Traditions: Ōmisoka – Nuovo Anno

Shogatsu (o Oshogatsu) è il nuovo anno per il popolo del sol levante.

Nel periodo Meiji, questa data coincideva con il calendario lunare cinese. Durante la restaurazione dello stesso periodo, anche il Giappone ha adottato il calendario Gregoriano. Il 1° gennaio diventa quindi il giorno festivo che tutti conosciamo.

Per noi occidentali è quasi impossibile pensare di poter racchiudere 365 giorni in un solo momento. Aprire gli occhi di fronte allo spettacolo dell’Hatsuhinode (il sorgere del primo sole del nuovo anno) è di buon auspicio. E’ anche la rappresentanza dell’anno che sta per cominciare.
Tutto però ha inizio dal 28 dicembre quando si cominciano i preparativi per il capodanno. Durante i giorni dello Shougatsu Sanganichi, solo i servizi primari sono attivi. I giapponesi si dedicano allo Susuharai, la pulizia della casa da cima a fondo per eliminare tutte le tracce negative del passato. Sugli ingressi vengono appesi i Kadomatsu (rami di pino) e lo Shimenawa (corda di paglia con strisce di carta colorata) per tenere lontani gli spiriti maligni.
Le poste giapponesi sono attive per recapitare le cartoline augurali che devono raggiungere amici e parenti entro capodanno, le nengajou (年賀状).

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Tutto è pronto per trascorrere il proprio tempo con la famiglia ed il 31 dicembre, ha inizio l’Ōmisoka (letteralmente la vigilia di Capodanno, l’ultimo giorno dell’anno). Attorno alle 22:30 inizia il Joya no Kane, i rintocchi della Tsurigane (la campana del tempio). Sono molto lenti, perchè il suono del precedente rintocco deve spegnersi prima dell’inizio del successivo. Proseguono fino a mezzanotte per un totale di 108 rintocchi. Essi permetteranno – a chi li ascolta tutti – di purificarsi per affrontare un nuovo capitolo tutto da scrivere.

I cibi tradizionali

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

In questa notte si mangia il toshikoshi soba (年越しそば), cioè vermicelli fatti con grano saraceno, uova e brodo caldo. La lunghezza dei vermicelli sono auspicio di una vita lunga. La loro digeribilità indica la pulizia interiore e la facilità con cui si tagliano simboleggia l’eliminazione di tutte le cose brutte nel passato.

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

Il giorno seguente, avviene la prima visita al santuario, l’HATSUMOUDE (初詣). Pregare per la salute dei propri familiari e la loro felicità è lo spirito giusto per affrontare il nuovo inizio. Inoltre i bambini giapponesi ricevono una piccola busta decorata, bukuro (袋), nella quale vi sono riposti dei soldi (otoshidama, お年玉).

Famiglia e festa sono legati insieme anche dal cibo. Sulle tavole fanno capolino i osechi-ryouri (お節料理) , i piatti speciali della tradizione come le alghe kombu ( 昆布), i kamaboko (蒲鉾, torte di pesce). E poi anche il kurikinton (栗きんとん, purè di patate dolci con castagne), il kinpiragobo (金平牛蒡, radici di bardana bollite). I più amati e conosciuti Kuro-mame (黒豆, fiagioli di soia neri dolci) e non mancano sushi e sashimi. Tutte le leccornie presenti fanno sì che esista anche il giorno del “riposo dello stomaco”, il 7° giorno di gennaio, il jinjitsu (人日), in cui si mangia il nanakusa-gayu (七草粥, la minestra delle sette erbe a base di riso).

Se avete mai avuto la possibilità di trovarvi in Giappone durante l’Ōmisoka, raccontatecelo nei commenti oppure sulla nostra pagina facebook.

Image source: Google

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Japanese Traditions: Ōmisoka – New year

Shogatsu (or Oshogatsu) is the new year for the land of the Rising Sun.

In the Meiji period, this date was coinciding with the Chinese lunar calendar, but during the restoration of the same period, Japan changed to the Gregorian calendar too, fixing January 1st as the festive day we all know.

For the westerners it’s almost impossible to think to gather 365 days in just one moment. However, opening your eyes in front of the sight of the Hatsuhinode (the dawn of the first sun of the year) it is considered good luck and as the representation of the year that’s about to begin. However, every year, celebrations start on December 28th when all the preparations for new year begin. During the days of the Shougatsu Sanganichi, only the primary services are available, while Japanese people dedicate themselves to the Susuharai, cleaning of the whole house to get rid of all the negative traces of the past year. Kadomatsu (pine braches) and Shimenawa (straw rope with stripes of colored paper) are hanged on the doorsteps to keep the bad spirits away.
Japanese postal office are actively sending out and delivering cards for the best wishes that need to reach friends and families before new year’s day, the nengajou (年賀状).

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

Everything is ready to spend the time with the family and on December 31st, that’s when the Ōmisoka begins (literally New year’s eve, the last day of the year).
Around 10:30pm the Joya no Kane, the tolls from the Tsurigane (bell of the temple), begins. They are very slow, because the first toll has to stop ringing before a second one is taken. They go on until midnight for a total of 108 tolls. They are said to be purifying for all those who listen so that it’s possible to face a new chapter of our lives.

Traditional foods

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

In this night it’s tradition to eat toshikoshi soba (年越しそば), noodles made with buckwheat, eggs and hot broth. The length of the noodles are auspice of a long life, their digestibility indicates the interior cleanliness and the ease in cutting them are a symbol of the removal of all bad things of the past.

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

The day after, the first visit to the temple takes place, the HATSUMOUDE (初詣). To pray for health for every family member and their happiness is the right spirit to face a new beginning. Furthermore, Japanese kids usually receive a small engraved envelope, bukuro (袋), containing some money (otoshidama, お年玉).

Family and festivities are connected together also thanks to the food. On the tables you can find theosechi-ryouri (お節料理), specialties coming from the tradition like the kombu (昆布) weed. The kamaboko (蒲鉾, fish cake), kurikinton (栗きんとん, mash potatoes with chestunts), kinpiragobo (金平牛蒡, burdock boiled roots). The most loved and well known Kuro-mame (黒豆, sweet black soy beans) and of course sushi and sashimi. Due to all these specialties, on the 7th day of January there’s the jinjitsu (人日), the day for “stomach rest”, when you only eat the the nanakusa-gayu (七草粥, the soup of the seven herbs made with rice).

If you ever had the chance to be in Japan during the Ōmisoka, tell us in the comments or on our facebook page! We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Image source: Google

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Japanese Traditions: Ōmisoka – New year

Shogatsu (or Oshogatsu) is the new year for the land of the Rising Sun.

In the Meiji period, this date was coinciding with the Chinese lunar calendar, but during the restoration of the same period, Japan changed to the Gregorian calendar too, fixing January 1st as the festive day we all know.

For the westerners it’s almost impossible to think to gather 365 days in just one moment. However, opening your eyes in front of the sight of the Hatsuhinode (the dawn of the first sun of the year) it is considered good luck and as the representation of the year that’s about to begin. However, every year, celebrations start on December 28th when all the preparations for new year begin. During the days of the Shougatsu Sanganichi, only the primary services are available, while Japanese people dedicate themselves to the Susuharai, cleaning of the whole house to get rid of all the negative traces of the past year. Kadomatsu (pine braches) and Shimenawa (straw rope with stripes of colored paper) are hanged on the doorsteps to keep the bad spirits away.
Japanese postal office are actively sending out and delivering cards for the best wishes that need to reach friends and families before new year’s day, the nengajou (年賀状).

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

Everything is ready to spend the time with the family and on December 31st, that’s when the Ōmisoka begins (literally New year’s eve, the last day of the year).
Around 10:30pm the Joya no Kane, the tolls from the Tsurigane (bell of the temple), begins. They are very slow, because the first toll has to stop ringing before a second one is taken. They go on until midnight for a total of 108 tolls. They are said to be purifying for all those who listen so that it’s possible to face a new chapter of our lives.

Traditional foods

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

In this night it’s tradition to eat toshikoshi soba (年越しそば), noodles made with buckwheat, eggs and hot broth. The length of the noodles are auspice of a long life, their digestibility indicates the interior cleanliness and the ease in cutting them are a symbol of the removal of all bad things of the past.

Ōmisoka, japan italy bridge, japanese new year, japan traditions, joya no Kane, HATSUMOUDE

The day after, the first visit to the temple takes place, the HATSUMOUDE (初詣). To pray for health for every family member and their happiness is the right spirit to face a new beginning. Furthermore, Japanese kids usually receive a small engraved envelope, bukuro (袋), containing some money (otoshidama, お年玉).

Family and festivities are connected together also thanks to the food. On the tables you can find theosechi-ryouri (お節料理), specialties coming from the tradition like the kombu (昆布) weed. The kamaboko (蒲鉾, fish cake), kurikinton (栗きんとん, mash potatoes with chestunts), kinpiragobo (金平牛蒡, burdock boiled roots). The most loved and well known Kuro-mame (黒豆, sweet black soy beans) and of course sushi and sashimi. Due to all these specialties, on the 7th day of January there’s the jinjitsu (人日), the day for “stomach rest”, when you only eat the the nanakusa-gayu (七草粥, the soup of the seven herbs made with rice).

If you ever had the chance to be in Japan during the Ōmisoka, tell us in the comments or on our facebook page! We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Image source: Google

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