New Year's Days in Japan

The first three days in the new year
In Japan we call the first three days in the new year "The New Year's Days".
We have traditional customs and ways to cerebrate the New Year. We have busy days in year-end to prepare for it.
In December we clean up the house, cook the special dishes. We also place some ornaments that it is said to bring us the good fortune.
When children visit the relatives houses they are given New Year's gifts, generally they are money enclosed in a small pretty paper pack.
January 7th
On this day we eat rice gruel, softly cooked with seven kinds of spring vegetables. In new year's days we have opportunities to eat and drink more than usual, so this is very good custom to restore the good condition of our stomach.
Most of the decoration for the new year's days are removed on this day.
January 11th
The following is one of the most representative decorations that is placed in the house.
kagamimoti

The body is made of rice cake. We remove it on January 11th and eat with sweet red beans.
Animal Zodiac
In Japan the twelve zodiacal signs are animals .
This year is "Rabbit year".
It is said that we'll be happy if we have something that has graphics of rabbit on it in our houses.

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(January 1999)