The monks also run

December is also called “師走 – Shiwasu” (literally means “Monks run”.) At the end of the busiest year ahead of the New Year, there are many things you have to do, so it’s like running around all the time. In fact, it has long been customary in Japan for monks to come to somebody homes and chant sutras at the end of the year. Therefore, as the end of the year approaches, the monks who receive requests from all over the place will be busy going back and forth between east and west. There is also a theory that after seeing the situation, people started to call December as “Monks run”.
There are so many things to do in December.

  • Christmas decorations and preparations (Christmas trees, meals, gifts, etc.)
  • There are also arrangements such as homecoming for the year-end and
  • New Year holidays
  • Preparation for New Year
  • Preparation for New Year’s cards
  • General cleaning
  • Winter solstice
  • Year-end gift: The act of giving goods with gratitude to those who have taken care of us on a daily basis

Let’s look back on “What we were happy about”, “What we were able to do”, and “What we were able to improve” in this year. Let’s summarize the whole year at the end of the year and think about what we should do in the future. At that time, instead of thinking only negatively, think positively and look back firmly at the end of the year to set goals for next year.

The day when the dust accumulated in one year is removed to celebrate the New Year is called “煤払い (Susuharai)“, which literally means “(traditional Japanese end-of-the-year) housecleaning”. In the olden days, people used fire in cooking stoves and lighthouse, so soot accumulated in the room. In order to welcome the New Year’s god, we will clean up the places that we do not usually do so that it will be a clean place.
Also, in Japanese mythology, we usually see the idea of “Death and Rebirth” which means a pure new life is born by exorcise the impurity. Cleaning up at the end of the year may have related to the idea of cleaning up the bad luck and impurity that came with the past year and welcoming the new year.
In general households, it seems that many families will do the year-end general cleaning from around December 26, when the whole family can easily get together. You can clean not only your own room but also the living room and kitchen that you use all the time and head for the New Year comfortably! !! Let’s work together to make the house shiny!!! !!