New Year's rituals during the pandemic
Due to the COVID pandemic, things that used to be done face to face have been switched to internet-based services, and this trend seems to be affecting even traditional Japanese events. What will the new Hatsumode be like!
When the New Year arrives in Japan, it is customary to go to a shrine to pray for safety and peace in the New Year. Meiji Shrine is the most popular place in Tokyo for Hatsumode (New Year's visit), with over 3 million visitors on the first three days alone.
According to ACORN's proprietary survey conducted on 23rd December 2020, 44% of people between the ages of 20 and 69 went on a New Year's visit in 2020, and the rate is higher among women than men, especially among those in their 40s and 50s. On the other hand, men in their 20s and 30s are less likely to make a New Year's visit.
However, in Japan, as in other countries, the number of infections started to increase again around the beginning of November, and two months later, the number of infections is still over 3,000 people every day. As a result, the government has temporarily shortened the opening hours of restaurants in urban areas, suspended the “Go To Travel campaign”, and started to announce that people should refrain from going back home at the end of the year and the first visit of the year to a shrine.
New Year's Day 2019 at Sensoji Temple
The shrines have also announced guidelines for infectious disease control across the board. They are recommending a non-contact New Year's visit using the Internet.
・ Virtual worship at Atago Shrine
・ Live streaming of the New Year's Day Buddhist service at Tsukiji Honganji Temple
・ Online purchase of charms and amulets at Kanda Myojin
The mascot character of the shrine also wears a mask, suggesting the new way traditional events should be held in the life with COVID19.
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