Festival facts: Ganjitsu and Oshogatso

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By Louise Tellamteacher and freelance writer

Find out about Japanese New Year celebrations on 1 January


What are Ganjitsu and Oshogatso?

Ganjitsu is the Japanese celebration of New Year’s Day, which is part of the three-day New Year festival of Oshogatso or Shogatso. The most important celebration of the year, it recalls the birth of Japan as islands specially created by the gods. Although it is principally a Shinto festival, Buddhists also celebrate at this time. Oshogatso means ‘standard month’ and it is believed that whatever is done at Ganjitsu sets the standard or tone for the rest of the year. The festival therefore seeks to provide a fresh and joyful start to the year, celebrated with family and friends at home, at the temple and as a community.

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