Do you know omikuji?
In shrines in Japan we can find omikuji like this. Omikuji is a fortune about a person’s near future written on a strip of paper. On new year’s day we visit a shrine to make New Year’s wishes for health and happiness and draw an omikuji that tells us a fortune of the new year.
Fortunes are divided into different levels of luck.
大吉 (daikichi) Very good luck
中吉 (chyukichi) Good luck
小吉 (syoukichi) A little luck
末吉 (suekichi) Uncertain luck
凶 (kyou) Bad luck
大吉 is very good luck, but if you draw it this year your next fortune couldn’t be better than this year’s, so some people say that 中吉 is the best.
After you read your omikuji you can tie it to a tree or wood in the shrine if you want. It means to form a connection with God. Otherwise you can keep it, because omikuji is a message from God. Either is fine. When I drew 大吉 I kept it to read it sometimes to make myself happy.
You can find Omikuji whenever you visit shrines, so if you are interested in it please try!
Happy new year!
What do you eat on New Year’s Day?
In Japan, we have rice cake-soup called ‘Ozouni’ and New Year’s dishes called ‘Osechi’ on New Year’s Day.
Rice cake-soup has a lot of types. In Kanto area people have a square shaped rice cake and clear soup.While, in Kansai area people have a round shaped rice cake and miso-soup in it. Ingredients vary from one locality to another. For example, some prefectures that face the Japan Sea are famous for seafood so they have fish or shellfish and others that have mountains use food from mountain as ingredients for Ozoni.
Osechi’s ingredients have a variety of meanings to suggest good fortune for the New year.
This is herring eggs called ‘Kazunoko’ in Japanese. Herring lays number of eggs at one time, so Kazunoko has traditionally been eaten to pray for the prosperity of descendants on Japanese New Year’s Day.
This is smashed sweet potatoes with sweetened chestnuts called ‘Kurikinton’. People eat it wishing a rice and wealthy year because it looks like gold treasure.
If you are interested in Osechi or Ozouni, please try to cook or taste it!
We wish you a wonderful happy new year!