Today’s post has nothing to do with flowers at all.
Christmas is over, and it’s already close to the New Year!
However, in Malaysia, there isn’t much of a special feeling.
What makes Malaysia interesting is that the importance of January 1-3 is not emphasized much, probably because it’s a multicultural country, and each major ethnic group has its own New Year celebration.
There’s Hari Raya for the Malay community, Chinese New Year for the Chinese, and Deepavali for the Indian community.
Although it has been quite a while since I came to Malaysia, I always enjoy experiencing the unique New Year celebrations of each culture.
This time, let’s talk about the New Year in my home country, Japan.
While our culture has been heavily influenced by China in ancient times, it has evolved into something unique over the course of time. Few things I love about Japanese New Year are…
First, the year-end big cleaning!
In the past, as a child, I used to say things like, “Cleaning windows is such a hassle, and I don’t want to wipe them with a wet cloth in this cold wind.”
However, as an adult with a family, I realized that keeping the house clean is mentally beneficial for me. Of course, cleaning the entire house alone is still challenging, so I hope my children and husband will help. And just like me in the past, my children are helping with complaints 😂.
Next is eating soba noodles at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
When the new year begins, we listen to the ringing of the temple bell on TV and eat soba noodles with the whole family. If someone doesn’t like soba or has allergies, udon or other noodles are fine.
I remember feeling excited about the act of staying awake until midnight and eating, something that wasn’t done on a regular basis.
Lastly, there’s osechi-ryori, the traditional New Year’s cuisine. My mother was quite traditional, making this special New Year’s food herself instead of outsourcing. As a child, the dishes had a mature taste, so I didn’t love them in the usual sense. However, seeing the beautifully arranged dishes made my heart race. Now, as an adult, I appreciate the depth and deliciousness of these dishes, and being far away in a foreign land makes them even more nostalgic.
If you ever get a chance to experience the New Year in Japan, I highly recommend trying osechi-ryori! ☺️