Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year, New Layout

Happy New Year! I am trying out a new layout for fun in this blog of randomness. What do you think?

Behold: Daruma-san!
Since our stay in Japan, the New Year always reminds me of Daruma-san. Daruma is the most popular good-luck symbol in Japan. He is based on the Bodhidarma, father of Zen Buddhism. In Japan, it is customary to buy or be given a Daruma doll at the start of the New Year. In fact, the dollar stores are packed with Daruma dolls around Christmastime. When you receive this eyeless, legless statue, you draw one eye in and then make a wish or a goal. If your wish or goal comes true throughout the next year, you draw in the other eye. That is momentous! At the end of the year, Daruma dolls are taken to the temples and burned in big bonfires.
We have a little children's book we got from Japan featuring Daruma-san. The story is sung, and so randomly, I will hear my little toddler sing "Daruma-san, Daruma-san". He recognizes the symbol, which is neat. Another New Year's tradition in Japan is to visit the temple. Thousands of people flock to their local temples during the New Year's holiday to honor their ancestors and pray for well-being for their families. They also do a deep-cleaning at the start of the year. On our street in Marugame, everyone in our neighborhood deep-cleaned their homes for a week. We know this, because all of the rugs and futons in town were hung to dry outside at once!
I am pretty sad that I didn't pick up the language while in Japan, but I think I really did gain a knowledge and appreciation of the yearly festivals and traditions. What a rich culture! I have been trying to think of ways to incorporate a New Year tradition in my own little family, other than the usual resolutions, which I don't make. Any ideas? (Please don't suggest deep cleaning!)


Larissa said...

Like the new blog - pretty design! Hmm yeah it would be fun to do a New Years Tradition. I need one too! Hmm yeah and cleaning is not a fun one - maybe instead of going to a temple you can have one place you go to on New Years day - but it has to be someplace that is anywhere if you move - a zoo?


Blog Template by