How to Spend Omisoka, “New Year’s Eve”

In Japan, omisoka, which means “New Year’s Eve”, is considered to be an important day to get ready to welcome the new year. Here is some information on how people spend New Year’s Eve in Japan.

When Is Omisoka?

Omisoka means New Year’s Eve. The word “misoka” is originally written as “三十日” in kanji, which means 30th day of the month. December 31st is called “omisoka”, which is written as “大晦日” in kanji (30 days with the word “dai – 大”), and it means the last day of the year.

What Do People Do on Omisoka?

On New Year’s Eve, people do some deep cleaning to welcome the new year comfortably. It is the tradition to clean your home and heart to welcome kami, which is the Shinto god of the new year. After finishing cleaning, people eat Toshikoshi soba; the long soba noodles represent a long and healthy life. Later in the evening, people also go to the temple to ring the New Year’s Eve bell, to get rid of the year’s troubles and welcome the new year feeling refreshed.

Enjoy the last day of the year and have a happy new year!

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