“Before the New Year Starts” Traditions of Japanese People

Because there are no customs/traditions in my culture, these traditions look really interesting for me. So I would like to share with you.

  •          Bonenkai
Year End Party

It’s a “forgetting the old year”, “make a new start in the new year” event. People get together, drink and chat all night and forget the unfortunate things happened. These events usually take place at Japanese Style bars called izakaya where you can find affordable price meals and “all you can drink” style menu for a large group of people.
  •           Osechi Ryori

New Years osechi-ryori  
Traditional new year meal is called Osechi-Ryori. This tradition started in the Heian period. The boxes food is placed in is called Jubako and they also look like bento boxes. Every ingredient represents something for the new year. For example; Konbu, a kind of seaweed, represents “joy” and Kuro-mame, black soybean, represents “health” in the new year.  
The dishes for Osechi might be different in other prefectures or even cities.
  •           New Year Cleaning
It’s like the spring cleaning we do. Japanese people do this at the end of the year and they call it Osoji. And with Osoji they believe they cleaned the negative energy in the house and makes a new beginning in the new year.
  • Bell  Ringing
「日光 Spring 08」 Syorow Bell Tower  
With the Budism Belief; For Redemption, at night of 31st of December, they ring the temple bell for 108 times.
( in some sources I read 107 times so I couldn’t be sure about it if you know the correct form of it please inform me so I can correct it if there is any mistake.)

Source: Wasa-bi.com