Japanese Family Farmhouse
Decorated for Shogatsu during a Wee Winter Wonderland as part of Holidays Around the World and Through Time.
AKE-MASHITE-OMEDETOU-GOZAIMASU! (HAPPY NEW YEAR!)
Shogatsu is a three day New Year celebration in Japan. Though most families get together on December 31st for New Years Eve, Shogatsu actually begins with the most important national holiday in Japan, Gantan (New Year’s Day) January 1st. The Japanese greeting "ake-mashite-omedetou-gozaimasu" is expressed to everyone you see the first time in the New Year.
Holiday decorations are placed in and around the house beginning December 30th. Shimekazari is a traditional ornament hung over the front of the house to ward off evil spirits and welcome good luck. You will see bamboo and pine decorations tied with straw rope called kadomatus at both sides of the entrance of houses set up to summon the New Year god Toshigami. It is believed that the god will bring good luck and prosperity in the New Year. The materials are symbolic- bamboo symbolizes strength and pine longevity. These decorations can be seen on the Japanese Family Farmhouse.
A special decoration called Kagami mochi is set out as an offering to Toshigami in the Japanese Kitchen. The decoration consists of two round mochi rice cakes of different size stacked (the smaller on top of the larger one) topped with a dadai (Japanese bitter orange). The Kagami mochi also symbolizes the continuity of the family; the mochi symbolize the past year and the year ahead and the dadai represents long life and the continuity of generations.
It is also a tradition to give children money during the Shogatsu holiday. Adults prepare small envelopes of money for the children called otoshidama. Look on the counter in the Japanese Kitchen for otoshidama. There is a custom of visiting a shrine or temple during the New Year’s holiday to pray for safety, health and good fortune.