10 Interesting New Year’s Traditions from Around the World

8. Japan

In Japan, the combination of faith, family, and food makes the New Year’s celebration memorable. The new year begins with every Buddhist temple in the country ringing their bells 108 times, a number which represents the desires that lead to pain and suffering. Ringing the bells seeks to drive out this pain and pave the way for a happy new year.

Many people visit Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines on New Year’s Day, in order to give thanks for the previous year and pray for fortune. After the temple and shrine visits, families head home to enjoy an elaborate meal called o-sechi ryori, which is composed of a number of different symbolic ingredients. For dessert, nothing but mochi (glutinous rice candies) will do.

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