Japanese New Year is one of the most celebrated occasions of the country. The New Year celebration in Japan is called Shogatsu and the day or the eve is referred to as gantan. Similar to all countries January 1st is the day New Year is observed. It is one of the most important days of the year; as it marks a new beginning, many institutions, companies, and others declare holidays on this occasion in the country. It is a ritual in Japan that each one of them wishes the other on their first meeting after New Year's Eve. This event starts with oosouji that refers to cleaning each part of the house. Foods served to form a very vital role on this day; each dish has its own meaning and reference such as they eat prawns as an indication of longer life and survival. Other things that are consumed are the mocha, osechi, Zouni, ozone, and many more each having its own significance. It is also a tradition to give away money to children on this occasion as we do so in some Indian festivals. People hence tend to carry with them envelopes of little tokens as a gift. Apart from this people also buy surprise gifts or bags called the Fukubukuro, which is sold in certain commercial shops- they have hidden gifts inside the bag. It's quite common for people in the country of Nippon to visit shrines on this day, they wish for health and happiness for their families and this custom is popularly known as the Hatsumode. Many famous shrines like the Meiji are filled with millions of pilgrims, these visits become special one the bells ring at night when it marks the beginning for the next year. Japan has a wide range of new year games, but some of them are very special like the karuta which is a game played through cards and one should identify the card based on its description, another is called Hagoita which signifies for kicking of bad luck and inviting good luck, kite flying is also very famous and is called takoage. Sometimes people also prefer watching the first sunrise of the year and this is called the Hatsuhinode. The culture is deeply rooted in the country and each enjoys being a part of the same. The occasion creates new lights and festivities in the country and if one would like to visit Japan New Year is a vibrant time to do so.
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