It’s already December, and in a few days, the hago ita will come out of the closet and go on display. The hago ita is part of hatsu shogatsu, how babies celebrate the New Year in Japan.
Tagged: japanese celebrations for baby
Around this time last year, I was eagerly preparing for baby’s first Christmas, hajimete no kurisumasu (初めてのクリスマス | first Christmas) in Japan. This year, we’ll be in the States for “authentic” festivities, but here’s how we celebrated last year.
Being pregnant in Japan is a 10-month long ordeal of hospital visits, taboos, and superstitions. And, even after your baby is born, the show still goes on. After you’ve no doubt introduced your new arrival to eager family members and friends, it’s soon time for omiyamairi: baby’s first photo shoot and shrine visit.
My little monster is officially one year old! Over the past twelve months several of her major developmental milestones were highlighted with a corresponding Japanese tradition. But nothing could prepare me for Japa’s spartan baby tradition, isshou mochi.
What Is Hatsu Sekku? To start, we need to look at the Japanese language and brush up on some history. Hatsu (初) means first while sekku (節句) are one of five annual ceremonies of the Japanese imperial court. Most of these celebrations have the roots in China and came to Japan during the Nara Period. In the Heian period (8th-12th century) sekku caught on — probably because they were an excuse to show off one’s fabulous wardrobe and upstage others in the imperial court.
Three months after the birth of my daughter, we celebrated o-kuizome (お食い初め), baby’s first meal. It is done in hopes that a baby will have no difficulty in procuring food in his/her lifetime.
According to tradition, out of all the animals, dogs have relatively easy and smooth pregnancies…Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “lucky dog,” doesn’t it? Therefore, on Inu no Hi (戌の日, literally “day of the dog”) Japanese women go to a shrine or temple during the 5th month of pregnancy. They pray for aid in getting through the remainder of the pregnancy and to have a safe delivery.