How Japanese Spend the New Year

A new decade is waiting to be welcomed. Tomorrow, we will already be walking in the world of 2020! All around the world, people celebrate the exciting occasion of the coming new year in all sorts of ways.

But how do Japanese people spend New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? Today you’ll get a LOT more insight on that question, so keep reading!

Family Time!

If you read my previous post about how Japanese spend Christmas, you’re probably getting suspicious. That’s because at Christmas people spend time with friends or enjoy dates with their loved ones, not their family!

But on New Years Eve, family members gather from all corners of Japan and countdown the new year. But they don’t spend New Year’s as a family in any old random way. And that’s what we’ll get into next.

The Traditional Japenese New Years Bento: Osechi

This dish is a must-eat in Japan on New Years. Filled with all sorts of luxuries: shrimp, sweet beans, eggs, crab, and much more.

Each family takes from the bento boxes what they wish, and share the food. They act completely different than in Christmas!

Another fun thing Japanese people do on New Years, is a game called Fukuwarai. This game is kind of like the “pin the tail on the donkey” game, but for Japanese. It starts when you set a blank face on the ground and tie a cloth around your eyes so you can’t see anything. On the side of the face are different things you need to put on it: two eyes, a nose, a mouth, some ears, a in some versions, eye brows. The goal of this game is to put each part on the face and try to make it like a… well, face.

But, you have to admit, it’s more fun when you fail, when you see the eyes on the chin, the nose sticking out of the forehead, and the ears in the middle of the face!

The New Years Greeting

And last but not least, the greeting Japanese people do, even to family members! They sit on the ground, and bow, like this to each other:

After I told you about the friendly feasts partaken together as a family, you were probably making an equasion in your mind: “Japanese New Years = friendly”. But no, Japanese people just can’t give up their politeness.

How do people in your country spend New Years? What do you think of how Japanese people spend theirs? Comment bellow!

See you next time in the new year!

12 thoughts on “How Japanese Spend the New Year

  1. That’s interesting that Christmas is spent with friends and New Years is spent with family. This is a really interesting post all up! Thanks for sharing, Noah! I hope you have a fantastic New Years. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with what Zielle said. In my mind when I first started reading all of your posts about what Japan does for holidays, I thought, “Hmm. I wonder if Japan has a holiday for each people group (i.e. family, friends, dates, etc.).” This is VERY interesting, Noah! Thank you for sharing!


  3. Thanks for sharing about Japanese customs. I like that they spend time with family at New Year. Here in the USA as you already may know they just are into parties. I do not participate in them as a Christian but we when our families get together will eat and play games as well. This year just spent a quiet time alone.


  4. Very good article Noah!
    We spend New Years Eve with friends. A home party is always fun.
    On New Years Day we spend time with family watching sports, playing games and eating appetizers.
    Happy New Year?


    1. Thank you, Nancy!
      That sounds kind of like what Japanese do, but some of them spend time with their family on New Years Eve too.
      Happy New Year! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!


  5. So, do the Japanese follow the Gregorian calendar instead of lunar like other Asian countries such as China & Thailand? Or have they just “borrowed” another culture’s holiday to celebrate like they do on Christmas?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.