How do you say” Happy new year” in your country?
Only 2 days are left in 2015 year of the sheep and the New Year 2016 monkey year is around the corner. In Japan we use 2 types of greeting for the New Year.
1st one is 良いお年をお迎えください。 “Yoi otoshi wo omukaekudasai” used before the new year comes
That can translate just like “Have a happy new year!” But the real meaning is more like, “l hope you finish this year well.”
The reason why we use different sentences is because at the end of year, we have a lot of work at home such as cleaning and decluttering house very deeply. This is related to the Zen philosophy of not been attached to possessions and to have a fresh start. In the school the students clean themselves everyday but I remember that before the end of the year the time of cleaning was much longer than usual.
Also long time ago the people had to pay the loans of the whole year at the end of year. Therefore, they did not have time to think about the New Year before paying the credit. That was very busy.
Then, after paying the credit and finishing the work at home, Japanese people finally can feel relaxed and eat Soba called Toshikoshi soba which means year- crossing noodles, with family to welcome the New Year at the night of 31st of December. The soba noodle is long and thin which represents longevity.
2nd one is 明けましておめでとうございます。“Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu” which is used after the New Year arrives. The meaning is “Have a happy new year! “like you use in another countries in the world.
So now l say to all of you “Yoi otoshi wo!!” l hope you finish well this year!!