Some people wear traditional clothes and come in their festive kimono to the shrine.Apart from the first shrine visit, there are a lot of other “firsts” of the new year.
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Daidai (橙, Japanese bitter orange): Daidai can also be written with the kanji “代々” then meaning “from generation to generation”. Datemaki (伊達巻き, sweet rolled omelette mixed with mashed shrimp or fish paste): This food originally comes from Nagasaki.
During the Edo Period the “castella kamaboko” was said to look like the fashionable people in their beautiful festive kimonos (伊達者, datesha) and so it was called “datemaki”. Kuri-Kinton (栗きんとん, mashed sweet potato with sweet chestnuts): The golden color of the food symbolizes a wish for wealth and success in competitions.
Konbu (昆布, a kind of seaweed): It is associated with the word yorokobu (喜ぶ, joy).
Thus, konbu is not only used as food, but also as a New Year’s decoration.
One that is still seen as very important is the “first sunrise of the year” (初日の出, hatsuhinode). Japanese children get a present from their relatives (sometimes even from neighbors), called “otoshidama” (お年玉).