Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year Traditions

Every country has its own set of traditions to welcome the new year. Here in Japan special food is prepared to be eaten over the coming few days. Special decorations go up on doors. People take advantage of a few days' holiday to go back to their family home. Many will go to the local shrine to offer a 'prayer' for the coming year. And as the old year closes, many millions tune in to NHK (the BBC of Japan) to watch the annual 'Red and White Singing Contest' when teams of men and women, both soloists and groups, entertain the audience with their songs. Now in its 60th year, the 'Kouhaku' has established itself as quite an event and is a glittering production with various well-known personalities taking part. Once it is all over NHK will switch to scenes of various parties round the country as the revellers welcome the start of 2010 which will take us into the Year of the Tiger. Tomorrow will see the start of the visit to the shrine for millions of Japanese - more on that in the next blog.

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