Kw-logo-smaller

Omisoka: Japanese New Year!

Dec 28, 2013

We’ve all heard of New Year’s Eve, but not everyone has heard of Omisoka, a similar holiday celebrated in Japan. Omisoka is a very important holiday for Japanese people, and is celebrated at the same time as New Year’s in North America. Find out more about Omisoka!

Japanese New Year

Just like New Year’s Eve, Omisoka is celebrated as the beginning of a new year with new possibilities, but their celebrations are a little different. Japanese New Year takes place on the last day of the year (December 31st). In preparation for a new year and a clean slate people purify their homes and remove last year’s clutter by cleaning from top to bottom. This is called “osoji”. They have a giant feast with friends and family with some traditional Japanese foods. Often people go out to celebrate or stay home and watch a nation-wide New Year’s talent competition until it’s time to count down to midnight. Omisoka isn’t just about having a party, it is also considered a spiritual event for many Japanese people, and at midnight they visit Shinto shrines. Temples ring a large cast iron bell at midnight to signify the 108 earthly wants that created human suffering.

OmisokaAt midnight the temple bell tolls to ring in the new year, but also for spiritual reasons
 

Traditions

  • People clean their houses and eat a large meal, and at 11 p.m. gather around to have one last meal of toshikoshi-soba (noodles). This is a tradition that comes from the belief that eating long noodles will give you a long life and help you cross from one year to the next!
  • Another reason much food is made on the last day of the year is that it is considered unlucky to cook in your kitchen for the first three days of the New Year, and most businesses are closed.
  • At midnight temples not only toll their bell to signify human desires that cause suffering, but they also hand out a traditional sweet drink called Amazake. The toll of the large bell is called joya-no-kane.
  • On December 31, Japan has a national broadcast called the Red vs. White Singing contest, where contestants compete against each other up until a half hour before midnight (a bit like a New Year’s American Idol).

Have Your Say

Do you celebrate Omisoka? How do you think it compares to New Year’s Eve? Let us know in the comments section below!

Related Stories
17 Comments

latest videos

New-yeras-sesolution-poll

What's Your Resolution?

  • To be healthier.
  • To break a bad habit.
  • To be a kinder, better person.
  • I don't make New Year's resolutions.

related stories

Micro_micro-newyearspoppers
Whether you’re throwing your own party or if you’re going out on the town, make these simple deco...
Micro_jaket-mic
We’re with Jake T. Austin talking first screen kiss, dating peeves and more.
Micro_beauty_micro
The end of one year means a new set of resolutions for the next! Beauty resolutions are about muc...
Micro_fashion_micro
At the end of each year, it’s always fun to make New Year resolutions! Everyone likes to make res...

Random in the forums

TacosandChocolate
SKITTLES RULE THE EARTH! 
reply 13 minutes
Heyyyyy_
Heyyyyy_ posted in New Users:
"TacosandChocolate" wrote:Hey, I'm new here. Pleased to meet you. So a bit about myself. I am random *throws cake at random person* I am crazy and funny and as my username says I love tacos and chocolate. Sky Blue is my made up name for role playing or Valentina Dayblossom. Sky is a goody goody and Valentina is a troublemaker and they are sisters. Once again pleased to meet you, good night. *throws skittles in air like confetti* Welcome to KW!  i am very random too and i love tht u threw some skittles in the air *grabs a yellow skittle* i was very hungry :) and btw, i LIVE for chocolate!!! 
reply 15 minutes
TacosandChocolate
Hey, I'm new here. Pleased to meet you. So a bit about myself. I am random *throws cake at random person* I am crazy and funny and as my username says I love tacos and chocolate. Sky Blue is my made up name for role playing or Valentina Dayblossom. Sky is a goody goody and Valentina is a troublemaker and they are sisters. Once again pleased to meet you, good night. *throws skittles in air like confetti*
reply 22 minutes
brunostar
brunostar posted in General:
I just realized the typo in the title
reply 31 minutes
Whitepaws101
Whitepaws101 posted in General:
Wow... Boy have I grown. To anybody reading this, whether you a be a past friend or current user, I really hope you're well. I've changed a lot since I've been here. Since I've left. I want you guys, my old friends (should you be reading this), to know a few things. No, I probably won't be back. Not for a very very long time. Yes, I miss you all. So very much. As said, I truely hope you're all still well and happy. And I want you to know I'm happy too. After I left this site, I really found myself, as cheesy as it may sound. But I'm happier now. Not completely happy, but I'm happier. And now, something that everyone could hear. Something that everyone should hear. I hope you all have a great life, for life is a gift we are given so very little of. Use it as you will, but be wise with it. Let nobody else deprive you because of the color of your skin, the thoughts on your mind, or the love in your heart. You're all so very beautiful and smart, in you're own grand way. You deserve this gift you've been given. Each and everyone of you. If you ever think that no one seems to care, always remember that even if you don't know me and I don't know you, I care. I care so very very much. I'll see you another time KW. My stay has been the most grand. Thank you all so much.
reply about 1 hour

play online games