Do you know “Lunar New Year” ?
It is also called “Chinese New Year”, and there still exist customs that celebrate this “old” new year in some areas such as China, Korea, and Viet Nam.
The fist date (1/1) varies depending on the year, and it is usually between 1/22 and 2/19 of solar calendar.
Here, in Japan, people used to use lunar calendar until Gregorian calendar was adopted in 1872 (Meiji era), though most of people do not even know about it anymore these days.
On 2/11, we attended New year party, or “Shinnenkai”(新年会) in Japanese. It was an assembly for those who are learning Kimono sewing from Ms. Tanabe, a “Kimono Meister”. (I have learned Kimono sewing for more than 12 years !)
When you hear about a new year party in February, you may ask “Why new year party in February ?”
Now, you have the answer !
It has wonderful, beautiful, well-mended Japanese garden with small water falls, bridges, and water mills.
Look ! Water mill with its water frozen while wheeling !
The dish was not bad, but it did not make the attendees full, which was never cheap,,, but,,,taking the nice views and romms in independent traditional houses, which should require huge cost and manpower to maintain, into consideration, it’s OK (o_<)/
Ms. Tanabe, Kimono Meister, or , “Shisho”(師匠) in Japanese, has sewed Kimonos for 50 years. She has made more than 15000 Kimonos in her artisan life !
As this year marks 50 years anniversary for her, her students including myself, or “Deshi”(弟子) in Japanese, also celebrated her with her family.
In every “Shinnenkai”, “Deshi” have to wear their own-made Kimono !
Because of winter season, everybody wears coat outside.
Unfortunately, we missed to take pictures of their beautiful Kimono and Obi….
By the way, 2/11 is National Foundation Day for Japan.
Does this date have something todo with lunar new year…???
There used to be a lot of traditional, complicated customs to celebrate new years in Japan.
Being less interested in traditions, or maybe lazy, the customs are getting more simplified..
Here, you may get some picture of how modern Japanese new year celebration is…
When the year end is coming, usually aroud 12/25, a pair of KADOMATSU is placed in front of the entrance.
12/29 is avoided for the day because 9 sounds similar to the word that means “Pain” in Japanese.
Kadomatsu in front of Department Store
Basically, there are two types of KADOMATSU as below. Can you tell the difference ?
I decorated my home entrance with midget KADOMATSU and KAGAMIMOCHI. Cute ??
On 12/31, most of Japanese people eat “Toshikoshi Soba” noodle, wishing for long and healthy lives and preparing for a new year.
Then,,,when 1/1 comes, it’s time to visit either Shrine of Temple for “HATSUMOUDE” to make a wish !
I went to Anahachiman shirine wearing Kimono on 1/1 and Yakuoin temple on Mr. Takao on 1/2.
It was my first time to watch mountain priests in line chanting a Buddhist sutra.
I felt the atmosphere of awe.
Mt. Takao Priests
Mt. Takao Priests2
Mt. Takao priests3
When you go to a shrine, you should try “OMIKUJI”, a paper that tells your fortune.
My OMIKUJI was “DAIKICHI”, which means very good luck. It was nice new year start expecting something wonderful to happen this year, wasn’t it ??
Coming back from HATSUMODE, I enjoyed “OZONI”, a kind of soup with rice cakes.
This is one of traditional dish for new year, but this makes you fat if you each too many rice cakes !
Unfortunately, my new year holidays ended on the night of 1/2, as I had to start working from the night…..