Ushidoshi (牛年) Nengajo 

It was time to make Nengajo in both classes today. I’ve long thought I’d like to make them myself and have never managed it. This year I need to do it. Coming up is an auspicious year (for me) and it’s not too early to begin marking it.  This would be a great way to do it.

As my students learn every year,Nengajo are postcards with a New Year’s greeting, a reference to the zodiac and the year on them. There was a time (long past) when they were done entirely by hand, but these days they can be sent by “e” and there are some clever ones out there (like the one shown above).  I had to explain why the “cow” or ox was sitting on a little box with a tangerine on its head.  The answer has everything to do with Kagami mochi.

I like the idea of sending a New Year’s card and my students enjoy making them.


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3 Responses to “Ushidoshi (牛年) Nengajo ”

  1. MoxyJane Says:

    This was very helpful to me as my family is celebrating a Japanese New Year as part of our geography studies (we homeschool). We are making Nengajo for friends as Christmas tree ornaments, which is an odd blend of East and West!

    Happy Holiday!

    Moxy Jane
    Austin, TX, USA

  2. Jacci Says:

    Thanks for the information. As an art teacher with many students who are unfortunately ignorant of many other cultures and traditions I try to incorporate as much global perspective as possible in my art lessons. I needed a quick one day lesson idea for a class before our holiday break and I believe the Nengajo is a great idea! I look forward to teaching it to my students. Thanks again!

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