In Japan, various symbols represent good fortune and are used to celebrate the New Year. Here are some of them:
Crane and Turtle (Tsuru to Kame): The crane symbolizes longevity and happiness, while the turtle represents health and long life. They are often depicted together and are used on New Year's cards and decorations to bring good luck in the coming year.
Pine, Bamboo, and Plum (Shochikubai): The combination of pine, bamboo, and plum represents longevity, strength, and purity, respectively. These plants are commonly used for decorations during New Year and other festive occasions.
Lucky Animals (Omamori Doubutsu): Adorable figurines or decorations featuring animals based on the Chinese zodiac (Twelve Zodiac Signs) are popular. For example, during the Year of the Rat, cute rat or mouse figures may be used to symbolize good fortune.
Mount Fuji holds significant cultural and symbolic importance in Japan and is often associated with positive attributes. While it may not be directly tied to New Year's celebrations, Mount Fuji is considered a national symbol and is featured in various art forms, literature, and traditions, contributing to the cultural landscape of Japan.
Red snapper, known as "Tai" in Japanese, is considered a symbol of good luck and celebration in Japanese culture. The word "Tai" is a homophone for the word "medetai," which means auspicious or joyous. As a result, red snapper is often associated with festive occasions and is a popular dish during celebrations such as New Year's and other special events.
During the New Year's celebration, a traditional Japanese meal called "osechi-ryori" is prepared, and red snapper is a common ingredient in this elaborate and symbolic meal. The fish is believed to bring good fortune and happiness for the coming year.
Daruma dolls are another significant symbol in Japanese culture, often associated with goal-setting, perseverance, and good luck. These traditional dolls are modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen school of Buddhism, and are typically round-shaped with a weighted bottom, causing them to return to an upright position when tilted. This design is symbolic of resilience and the ability to overcome challenges.
During the New Year, it's common for people to buy a new Daruma doll, set new goals, and continue this tradition. The Daruma doll serves as a positive and motivational symbol, encouraging individuals to pursue their aspirations with determination and optimism.
These symbols and decorations are used to usher in the New Year with positive energy and to invite good luck and happiness into homes and lives.