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
>
>

readers voted!

Comments

ginamovoto1122
i love noodels but i daont eat them anymore cuse my mum doant buy them any but i just d...
commented: Fri Jan 06, 2012

Nikkii_aka_sweet
tht is one big bell i tell yall tht lol
commented: Tue Jan 03, 2012

HitGirl14

HitGirl14 wrote:

for a second there I thought it said midget people ate.. so on and so forth o.O
commented: Tue Jan 03, 2012

there are 17 more comments

Please login or register to add comments


like this article?
Sign up now to get more just like!

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

LAZY778
LAZY778 posted in Say Anything:
@Rainy,yeah I get it. I think I'm getting sick like my dad did!!!  :(
reply 6 minutes
shae508
shae508 posted in Say Anything:
"ThunderSpirit" wrote:Hi... Miss Thundy! How are you?
reply 7 minutes
FireWolfRain
@LAZY I don't know. They just hurt.  The bones just hurt, just really sore. :(  You know? Like growing pain, but less serious. An achey pain. 
reply 9 minutes
ThunderSpirit
Hi...
reply 9 minutes
LAZY778
LAZY778 posted in Say Anything:
"FireWolfRain" wrote:For some reason, my cheek bones hurt. :(Oddly confused. :confused What chu mean yo cheekbones hurt?  :confused     I'm bored.  :/
reply 14 minutes

play online games

Candy-100

A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

Big_icon_(7)

Have you ever fancied being a ranger like those fantasy characters you love so m...

Big_icon_(4)

You run across the city in a car chase with the police officers.

Big_icon_(6)

The evil master kidnapped all of your friends!

Ow_fright_ad_100x100

Explore the world or hang out with friends in your own condo. Get a unique look,...