The coming of a New Year is the time of reflection and merriment with the hope for a better future, best shared with our friends and family. For the Japanese, it is more than a one-day festival, but a complete set of traditional customs called Oshogatsu that begins in mid-December, peak during the first three days of the New Year, and draws to a fiery conclusion on 15th January. A celebration that crosses from the past to start anew, with the blessings of the Year God, Toshigami.
More than a ‘Father Time’ figure, Toshigami brings goodwill, luck, harmony and abundance. Although primarily a Shinto figure, Toshigami is also an amalgamation of ancestral belief with agricultural origins. As such, Toshigami isn’t necessarily one deity, but a collective representation of ancestral spirits, gods and goddesses that provide nature’s abundance, and protect the lands and its people.