Happy Old Year is the name of a 2020 Thai film which explores reactions to the Marie Kondo method of tidying and decluttering. For me, it is something different. It signals the sweeping out of the Old Year – a reminder of my friends and acquaintances in Asia who have customs and traditions that date back centuries tied to this holiday.
In Japan, my friends have been deep cleaning their residences. This is oosouji or ‘the big clean’. Traditional foods were meticulously prepared days in advance so that everyone could stop and enjoy three days of holidays together. I remember being in Narita and having a very special soba or noodle dish on New Year’s Eve one year. Many of you will be acquainted with the thick white soba noodles but, Toshikoshi soba is made with a thin buckwheat noodle.
It is so delicious and can be either served with shrimp or with corn to be vegetarian. Eating this dish is to help bring good luck for all of the coming year. You have to slurp – very loud – pulling the noodles up between your lips. This is absolutely the best manners in Japan.
Many on the first day of the new year go swimming in the frigid waters of the lakes or the ocean while watching the first sun rise of the year. Money is given to children in small envelopes in Japan just as it is during the Lunar New Year celebrated in other countries. Everyone tries to visit their home shrine on New Year’s. There were few New Year’s Day traditions when I was growing up in Oklahoma but the one that could not be missed was eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. The basis of these traditions is to start afresh – pay your bills, settle any quarrels you have with someone so that there is nothing lingering into the New Year where everyone wants to have the very best of luck.
No matter how you transition from 2021 to 2022, I wish all of you the very best of happiness. I cannot tell you what a delight it is to get your notes or comments but, most of all, it is marvellous to know that all around the world there are people who recognize the joy that our beloved birds and animals bring to our lives.
Everyone in the garden brings their special wishes to you for 2022.
Dyson wishes that you always have some extra food in the pantry – just in case!
Dyson also wishes you a warm coat for winter!
Little Red wishes you a warm and comfy home with lots of snacks.
Today, the 34 European Starlings that came to the feeders wish that everyone has something as delicious as Bark Butter for their treat.
Mr and Mrs Blue Jay and Junior wish that everyone gets to feel the love of family and friends.
Sharpie hopes that everyone has a good meal once in awhile.
Mr and Mrs Little Woodpecker and Hedwig wish everyone good health and happiness.
I want to wish you a peaceful new year full of laughter, smiles, good health, and lots and lots of birds to bring joy to your heart.