Friday, 31 December 2010

Oshogatsu Everybody!

Scotland takes New Year traditions very seriously...particularly the parts of it that involve excessive drinking. But other cultures enjoy things in their own way. I like the sound of Japan's Oshogatsu...rice cakes, bells and a clean slate...

"In December, various Bonenkai or "forget-the-year parties" are held to bid farewell to the problems and concerns of the past year and prepare for a new beginning. Misunderstandings and grudges are forgiven and houses are scrubbed. At midnight on Dec. 31, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times, in a effort to expel 108 types of human weakness. New Year's day itself is a day of joy and no work is to be done. Children receive otoshidamas, small gifts with money inside. Sending New Year's cards is a popular tradition—if postmarked by a certain date, the Japanese post office guarantees delivery of all New Year's cards on Jan. 1."

Read more: New Year's Traditions

Shameless non-folklore related plug; the scottish tradition of "watching some comedy while getting drunk before the bells" can be observed tonight by watching "/comedy" on STV at 10.45...for which I've written a few sketches.

Anyway...kinga shinnen! Kotoshi mo yoroshiku o-negai-shimasu.

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