Year of the Snake

1 Jan

It’s now 2013 January 1st in Japan.

明けましておめでとう!(Happy New Year!)  ♪

On the Japanese calender, 2013 is 平和25年 (Heisei 25) … the “Year of the Snake” (巳年).


New Years is the biggest holiday in Japan.
It would take a lot to explain Japanese New Year in detail … New Years postcards, TV specials, relatives coming together for a special meal, temple visits, lucky charms and New Years decorations, and many other things.

I’ll just briefly introduce you to Daruma.


Daruma is a round doll that people buy at New Years in Japan.

He has a funny face … and no eyes!

If you get a Daruma, you’re supposed to make a wish for the new year and paint one of his eyes in.
If the wish comes true, you paint in the other eye.

Regardless of whether the wish comes true or not, at the end of the year, you’re supposed to bring the Daruma (and any other New Years decorations you have) to a temple to be burned … and then get a new one for the next year.

It’s bad luck to keep a Daruma for over one year.

8 Responses to “Year of the Snake”

  1. Metal Odyssey January 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Happy New Year Tokyo5 to you, your family and great country of Japan!

    Unreal, the cultural history of Japan I learn from you!! Now I know about Daruma!

    Have a healthy and prosperous New Year, my Metal Buddy \m/\m/


    • tokyo5 January 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

      Come to Japan and you can get a Daruma!

      I have a “Mickey Mouse Daruma” cellphone strap on my phone right now that I got from Tokyo Disneyland.
      It’s unique to Japan … other Disney parks around the world don’t sell it, I’m sure.


  2. cocomino January 1, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    明けましておめでとうございます。Daruma represents happy 🙂


    • tokyo5 January 1, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Thank you.
      Happy New Year to you, too!


  3. Earnest Mercer January 1, 2013 at 4:32 am #

    I was there during the Showa period, arriving ni ju roku nen Showa. What era is it now?


    • tokyo5 January 1, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      You came to Japan in Showa 26 — so…1951.

      As I wrote in this post, this year (2013) is Heisei 25.
      The Showa Era ended in January 1989 (昭和64年 (Showa 64)) when the previous Emperor died.
      Showa 64 was only one week though … 1989 was “Heisei 1”.

      I came to Japan in 1990 … Heisei 2.


  4. bartman905 January 1, 2013 at 1:41 am #

    Best wishes and a very happy new year to you and your family!


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