The New is one of the most important holidays for the Japanese. Most Japanese rest during the first three days of the New Year and many companies and schools are closed for one week or more during this season.
People decorate the entrance of their homes with Shimekazari (しめ飾り) during the New Year’s season to ward off evil spirits.
Kadomatsu (門松) are a pair of pine decorations which are placed in front of the gates of a residence from January 1st to the 7th, the period known as matsunouchi (松の内).
初詣 First visit to the Shinto Shrine
Many Japanese people visit a Shinto shrine during the first three days of January in order to make traditional New Year’s wishes for health and happiness.
Osechi-ryori (おせち料理) are specially prepared New Year’s dishes to be eaten during the first three days of January.
年賀状 New Year’s Greeting Cards
People write and send post cards as New Year’s greetings in December, to be delivered on New Year’s Day.
During the New Year’s season, Japanese children are given small envelopes containing money called “otoshidama” by their parents and relatives making their first visit of the New year.