Home » Happy Holidays at Harper CE » New Year Greetings and Food Traditions from Japan

New Year Greetings and Food Traditions from Japan

Japanese language instructor Setsuko Hanaoka shares New Year’s greetings in Japanese:
「新年あけましておめでとうございます。(Shin nen akemashite omedeto gozaimasu)」=Happy New Year. Or, you can say just 「あけまして おめでとうございます。(Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu)」or 「新年おめでとうございます。(Shin nen omedeto gozaimasu)」「迎春(Geishun)」「謹賀新年(kinngasin nen)」

photo by Haruhiko Okumura


Setsuko explains that New Year (oshogatsu) is the largest of the seasonal celebrations in Japan. The month-long festivities feature many special foods, each with special meaning. For example, “Eating black beans in syrup on New Year’s ensures that those who work in earnest will have a sweet new year,” writes author Elizabeth Andoh. Click here for Andoh’s recipe for Sweet Black Beans (Kuro mame), from her book “Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions.” Mochi represents good fortune and long, thin noodles are eaten  long to invite healthy life for the whole family in the new year.

Osechi-ryori is a traditional New Year’s combination plate of ebi (shrimp), kamaboko (fish cakes), kinpiragobo (burdock root), konbu (seaweed), kurikinton (mashed sweet potato and chestnuts), and kuromame (sweetened black soybeans). Many of these dishes are sweet, sour, or dried, so they can keep fresh without refrigeration.
Ready to learn more? Setsuko teaches Conversational Japanese this spring:
Thursdays, 1/18-4/12, 7-9 p.m.
Start with the Japanese syllabary hiragana, numbers and greetings to learn the essentials of pronunciation as well as basic grammar and vocabulary needed to greet people, talk about yourself and express needs. By the end of the course you will have some knowledge of the culture and should be able to speak at least 10 percent of your conversation in this language.

Register online or call 847.925.6300.


Browse this and all our Personal Enrichment courses in the

January-May 2018 CE Course Schedule or visit our

Personal Enrichment page for additional information.

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