Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Eve

Last night, Chris did the prepwork for his family's traditional New Year's Dish, which is an egg and sausage strata sort of thing. No prepwork for mine, I have cheese, crackers and wine.

This morning, after Chris left to go skiing, I started the housework. Well, 12 hours later, the house is clean (funny, my mom always cleaned the house on new year's too), our little kadomatsu are by the door:

the shimenawa has been hung up:

and the kagamochi is on its stand in the living room:

We are officially ready for our Japanese-style New Year, which focuses on forgetting the past and preparing for a fresh start.

Actually, the Japanese don't have the market cornered on the new year as a fresh start:

"The theme of renewal, banishing the old year's evil spirits and getting a fresh start with the new seems nearly universal. In some European cultures, the door is left ajar for the old year to escape, and a shutter is left open for the new year to enter. The Japanese prepare for the big day by cleaning their homes from top to bottom, then hang a sacred rope, or shimenawa, over the doorway to prevent malevolent spirits from entering the house."

---Laura Outerbridge, in The Washington Times, December 26, 1991

I'll put all the holiday pictures up at some point, I promise.

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