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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!

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Random In The Forums

Jeterfan14
Jeterfan14 posted in Debating:
"David_Teh_Derp" wrote: "Jeterfan14" wrote: "David_Teh_Derp" wrote: No, they do not make women seem like objects, but beauty pageants are stupid though. I don't get why people are amused of this. So if anyone is supposed to be blamed for sexism, if there even is any in this, it's those that like this. (Honestly I am not amused with someone just showing of on stage, it is also kinda egoistic also, honestly). Read my post and you'll get the opinion of one of those "egotistic" pageant girls. I am very feminist and if you read my post you'll see how I feel So I read the post and it seems that it has almost nothing to say about ego. These are the only things I, at least, can get out of your post about feelings: ​1. The question: Do beauty pageants objectify women? 2. Your description of what way you are using the word 'objectify': Degrading a person to seem like a mere object ​3. Wanting to know everybody's opinion ​ ​That's it. I'm probably the only one here to bring up the subject about 'egoistical'. And since you are a feminist I will plainly assume that you agree with me on these girls in the pageant being of larger ego than usual. But your comment is slightly confusing and therefore I have no idea if you are angry with me or if you are telling me that you are agreeing with me saying that you feel that pageant girls are egoistic or something. But I know one thing: You feel badly about these pageants. If you would detail your comment more I would be relatively satisfied and probably even have a full answer. On the other hand, thank you for recognizing my comment, I was glad to hear your reaction, even though it was somewhat confusing, and I hope you have a good continuation of the day, m'am. :) No no, sorry about it confusing. What I meant was I disagreed with the egotistical part and wanted you to know I was a pageant girl and I wasn't that way, however I was too lazy to retype how I felt about this subject so I directed you to my post before cx Sorry. My post is in favor of beauty pageants, I've realized lately that I can't portray what I'm trying to say in a non-confusing way to other people so I guess I'll try and clarify. I feel beauty pageants are helpful to the girls in them, I had been bullied harshly but my mother said everytime I was on stage I seemed to have some confidence which I didnt have any other time. All Im really saying is people judge pageants too quickly without really realizing the deeper meaning behind them, I was just saying it from a beauty pageant girls mind
reply less than a minute
David_Teh_Derp
"Jeterfan14" wrote: "David_Teh_Derp" wrote: No, they do not make women seem like objects, but beauty pageants are stupid though. I don't get why people are amused of this. So if anyone is supposed to be blamed for sexism, if there even is any in this, it's those that like this. (Honestly I am not amused with someone just showing of on stage, it is also kinda egoistic also, honestly). Read my post and you'll get the opinion of one of those "egotistic" pageant girls. I am very feminist and if you read my post you'll see how I feel So I read the post and it seems that it has almost nothing to say about ego. These are the only things I, at least, can get out of your post about feelings: ​1. The question: Do beauty pageants objectify women? 2. Your description of what way you are using the word 'objectify': Degrading a person to seem like a mere object ​3. Wanting to know everybody's opinion ​ ​That's it. I'm probably the only one here to bring up the subject about 'egoistical'. And since you are a feminist I will plainly assume that you agree with me on these girls in the pageant being of larger ego than usual. But your comment is slightly confusing and therefore I have no idea if you are angry with me or if you are telling me that you are agreeing with me saying that you feel that pageant girls are egoistic or something. But I know one thing: You feel badly about these pageants. If you would detail your comment more I would be relatively satisfied and probably even have a full answer. On the other hand, thank you for recognizing my comment, I was glad to hear your reaction, even though it was somewhat confusing, and I hope you have a good continuation of the day, m'am. :)
reply 7 minutes
ValenciaRose
ValenciaRose posted in Debating:
In general, do you think a country would be run better with a democracy or with someone making all the decisions?  Sorry should have made that more clearer :blush 
reply 35 minutes
Jeterfan14
Jeterfan14 posted in Debating:
"David_Teh_Derp" wrote:No, they do not make women seem like objects, but beauty pageants are stupid though. I don't get why people are amused of this. So if anyone is supposed to be blamed for sexism, if there even is any in this, it's those that like this. (Honestly I am not amused with someone just showing of on stage, it is also kinda egoistic also, honestly). Read my post and you'll get the opinion of one of those "egotistic" pageant girls. I am very feminist and if you read my post you'll see how I feel
reply about 1 hour
David_Teh_Derp
No, they do not make women seem like objects, but beauty pageants are stupid though. I don't get why people are amused of this. So if anyone is supposed to be blamed for sexism, if there even is any in this, it's those that like this. (Honestly I am not amused with someone just showing of on stage, it is also kinda egoistic also, honestly).
reply about 1 hour