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New year traditions in Japan: fair

New year – the most favorite and fun time for the Japanese, moreover, it is one of the three major holidays of the country , along with the Foundation Day of the state and the birthday of the Emperor. In earlier times, New year was celebrated according to the lunar calendar, but since the end of XIX century it corresponded with the New year of the Gregorian calendar and the celebration of Christmas. The Japanese are preparing for the holiday ahead of time: the whole month of December of the outgoing year is busy with holiday chores and preparations.

Markets and fairs on the eve of the New year – evidence of the holiday hustle and bustle. Since the mid eighteenth century were arranged colonies of birds (tori no ichi). Special demand used the rake (kumade) – good luck charm. Popularity since the end of the nineteenth century acquired Fair of the year (Toshi no ichi), which was a buy-sell stuff (nanaka URI) in Tokyo in the Asakusa district, near the temple of the goddess Kannon. Widely was izvestnoi fair in Tokyo in Setagaya ward (Setagaya Boro-ichi), where the residents sold the unnecessary to make the purchases for the New year.

In our day of the fair has lost its former meaning and now are just place of the fair and sale of Christmas goods. Widespread supermarkets, supermarkets and many small shops, a special purpose. The fairs remained Fair, and the market of junk in Setagaya. A special flavor of the bazaars and craft fairs give hagoita-ichi fair, which sell special rackets for the game of shuttlecock. The largest fair of our day is considered to be fair in Odawara on the Tokaido tract in Central Japan. Here you can buy not only all the goods for the New year – utensils, clothing,food, gifts, jewelry, ritual objects, but also wishes, hopes, dreams and destiny, the embodiment of which – Daruma, hamoumi and Takara-Bune, and other traditional Christmas gifts.

Toshi-no ichi Fair of the year

Before, when bartering was commonplace, various fairs were held in all parts of the country. In Edo and major fairs were held three times a year, and the largest of them was the December Toshi-no ichi or Fair the end of the year. Chirizukadan, written in 1814, describes it as a place where people came to buy Christmas decorations and pray for luck. One of such fairs was held in Tokyo on 17 and 18 December, for which it received its name – the Asakusa-ichi. These numbers were chosen because in this time people came to worship the goddess Kannon in the last year. Color prints for Toyokuni depict this Fair, which was an important annual event in the life of Edo.

Until the middle of the Edo period Tosi-but iti attended only by men. Samurai and rich merchants had their servants, who wore baskets and large chests, while the owners visited Asakusa and shopped. Long ago, the fair grounds are not restricted to the Senso-JI temple, and still covered and the southern part of Komagata in Asakusa, Kuramae, Asakusabashi and West from Tawaramachi to Ueno Yamashita. In one of the old senryu (Japanese satirical poem) described the popularity of the fair: “visitors to the market, coming from the crowd, disappear in the crowd.”

During the late Edo period when this fair in Asakusa was closed, people continued to collect bazaars in Kanda, and Akihabara, Fukagawa Hachiman, temple of Shiba-ATAGO, Ganbari-Fudo and other places. Then the markets started to visit the women and children. In the Meiji era in traditional stores also started to sell merchandise and Souvenirs for the New year: this has led to a reduction of visitors Toshi-ichi but. Hagoita-ichi (a fair where they sell decorative racket for a game of shuttlecock), which flourished in the late Edo period still attracts large crowds of both native Japanese and tourists alike.

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