All About Japan

5 Fun Otoshidama Envelopes

| Food & Drink , New Year's
5 Fun Otoshidama Envelopes

Japan switched from the Chinese lunisolar calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1873, but the country still retains quite a few Chinese traditions for celebrating the New Year, including giving children pocket money, or otoshidama. The envelopes, called otoshidama-bukuro or pochi-bukuro, are fun in themselves!

5. New Year's Symbols

5. New Year's Symbols

Bamboo, osechi-ryori, a karuta card game and a monkey (2016's Zodiac symbol) fully represent this Japanese New Year.

4. Mount Fuji

4. Mount Fuji

The most representative symbol of the Japan is of course appropriate for any occasion.

3. Daruma

3. Daruma

This legless monk is usually depicted in red, the color for expelling evil spirits. Daruma come with unpainted eyes; as you make a wish, you draw on the right eye. When your wish is fulfilled, then you draw on the left one.

2. Mickeys

2. Mickeys

How could we leave out Mickey and Disney given their staggering popularity in Japan? Even at New Year's, the Mouse is impossible to avoid!

1. Monkeys

1. Monkeys

2016 is the Year of the Monkey, and as you might expect, monkey-related otoshidama-bukuro are the most popular designs for 2016. The three famous “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” monkeys from Nikko are by far the favored theme.