If you’ve been following the news from Japan, you should have seen the term “大晦日(Oomisoka)” a lot lately. What exactly does it mean? Is it a holiday? Is it also one of the holidays in Japan? What does it have to do with the end of the year in Japan?
What is Oomisoka
大晦日 is a Japanese word pronounced “oomisoka”, which usually refers to the last day of the year.
The word “晦” in Japanese means the moon is hidden, and “晦日” means the day when there is no moon, which is, the last day of the month/end of the month. The last day of December is the last day of the year and has a special significance, so it is called the “Great 晦日”, which is 大晦日, oomisoka.
Although it is not legally a national holiday in Japan, students go on winter vacation on this day, and companies end their work for the year and start their New Year holidays before this day.
What to do on the Big Day
It is said that during the Heian period in Japan, the tradition of the Oomisoka was to prepare for the New Year’s ritual to the “god of the year”. It is said that the gods of the year would visit homes at night to bless the new year with abundant harvests. The Japanese desire to meet with the “god of the year” in order to receive the blessings of the gods. The custom of staying up all night on the Oomisoka is called “Toshi-gomori,” but it is no longer practiced in recent times.
Instead, the bells are rung late at night on Oomisoka, at the zero hour of the New Year, and the New Year’s soba noodles are eaten on Oomisoka.
In addition, the Japanese do these things on Oomisoka.
Prepare for the New Year
Japanese New Year decorations, are decorated in various places in the house on the day of Oomisoka. Japanese housewives are also busy with New Year’s cooking on this day.
The Big Sweep
It’s a time to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. On the day of Oomisoka, Japanese people usually do a thorough cleaning of their homes. For example, the kitchen sink, bathtub, sewer pipe, the back of the cabinet, and other corners that are usually not paid attention to, will be cleaned on this day. In addition, unworn clothes and unused utensils will also be sorted out and disposed of.
Returning home to visit relatives
In order to reunite with family for the New Year, many people will rush home from their work city on the 29th and 30th of December. If you delay until the 31st to embark on the return journey, then you are likely to face the return journey peak.
But no matter what, it’s always great to be back home to meet your family.
Watch the show
The Red and White Song Festival is a must-attend event every year on Oomisoka! Even if you don’t live in Japan, there are many people who know about this show. In addition, there are a lot of funny shows and other TV shows that are only performed on this day.
Join the New Year’s Eve event
Every year, there are New Year’s Eve events all over Japan, and the most famous one is the New Year’s Eve countdown at Shibuya’s Crossroads. But these two years because of COVID-19 pneumonia many have stopped or reduced the number of people held.
For the sake of everyone’s health, it’s better to stay home and chat with your family and watch TV.
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