It’s the final week of 2013 and the start of a brand new year, so what better way to represent the huge event than to analyse how it’s celebrated across the globe. Many countries have their own distinct ways of celebrating New Years and the first country we are focusing on is Japan.
The Japanese believe that New Years Eve welcomes the God of the New Year, Toshigami. The Buddhist temples across the country symbolise the arrival of the New Year at midnight by ringing the temple bells 108 times precisely. This is seen as a fitting way of welcoming Toshigami and the start of a new year.
With Buddhists welcoming their New Year’s God, the rest of Japan treats the occasion as any other special event. Cards and gifts may be exchanged between friends, family and loved ones, whilst many people will give their homes a thorough clean in preparation for the New Year in a traditional manner. The cards that are exchanged are often a particular form of thank you card that acknowledges the affection shown throughout the year.