Monthly Archives: December 2016

SHINTOISM | Ōmisoka, Shōgatsu and Hatsumōde

31 December to 01 January

Shōgatsu is the Japanese New Year’s Day. Although it was not established as a Public Holiday until 1948, the day had long been celebrated as a day of imperial worship known as Shihō-hai. On Ōmisoka (New Year’s Eve) preparations for the new year begin. Homes, schools and businesses are cleaned, debts are paid, and Osechi-ryōri (special New Year food presented in decorative, lacquered, multi-layered bento boxes) is prepared for a traditional Shōgatsu meal. Special foods eaten during Shōgatsu are o-toso (sweet sake flavoured with cassia bark, herbs and spices) and mochi (sticky rice cakes).

In the evening of Ōmisoka, families come together to watch a special New Year variety show on television, staying up until midnight to enjoy a traditional meal of toshikoshi soba (a special New Year dish of soba (buckwheat) noodles). At Yasaka Jinja (Yasaka shrine) in Kyoto, a sacred fire is kindled and visitors are encouraged to take home some of the embers as it is believed that good fortune will be granted to those who use them to cook their first meal of the new year. Shimekazari (sacred ropes braided of race straw and adorned with good luck charms) are hung above the doors of many Japanese homes and businesses to ward off evil spirits and to invite Kami (spirits) to enter.

In the early morning on Shōgatsu, it is traditional for people to make their first prayer visit of the year to a Shinto shrine. This practice is known as Hatsumōde. It is very important in Japanese culture and many women dress up in their finest kimonos. During Hatsumōde, Japanese people express gratitude to Kami for the divine protection they received in the past year and ask for their continual protection in the year ahead.

For more information about Ōmisoka, Shōgatsu and Hatsumōde please click here

SHINTOISM | Ōmisoka, Shōgatsu and Hatsumōde 2017-09-12T10:44:24+00:00

Happy Christmas from the REEP Team

First Christmas Card 1843

Above: The first Christmas Card. The first Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by John Callcott Horsley in London on 1 May 1843.

Happy Christmas from the REEP Team 2017-11-06T17:51:00+00:00

Coming Soon: REEP Landscape Conference

In another follow-up to the COP22 conference in Marrakech, REEP plans to organise an international landscape conference in Essaouira and Marrakech as part of our Shore to Shore Project next year. Called ‘Growing Gardeners’, the conference will bring together gardening experts from Britain, Morocco and Spain to discuss how we can inspire young people in Morocco to become gardeners. More to come…

Coming Soon: REEP Landscape Conference 2017-11-06T17:45:47+00:00

REEP and Climates

Following up on the COP22 conference on climate change in Morocco, we are developing a new section of the REEP website all about climate. With direct links to our REEP McLaren Scholarship, this part of the website will provide information and maps about the climates of Britain, Morocco and Spain. Click on the Link below to discover more.

REEP: Gardening in Different Climates

REEP and Climates 2017-11-06T18:01:12+00:00