Every culture has its local traditions that make it so unique and enriching. During these dates in January, Japan is the place to be! Every year normally on the 15th of January (varies in some places), they celebrate Dondo Yaki (?????), which is a ceremony where the Japanese burn their New Years ornaments and amulets of the past year.
The Dondo Yaki is a small like a small little hut made out of bambu sticks, rice hay, herbs, branches, leaves.. Japanese believe that the god Toshigami ???) resides in branches and ornamental leaves.
Toshigami is the God of the New Year that comes down to every home across Japan to celebrate the New Year and on the 15th of every January Japanese come together to bid him goodbye. They believe that the gods go up to heaven with the smoke from the bond fire and that is why they receive this smoke as divine smoke.
And what kind of tradition doesnt have its little bit of food? Before the fire turns off, theJapanese prepare mochis (rice cakes) strung on long bambu cane that they toast in the fire to begin with a sweet year. The mochis are composed in 3 colors: reddish/pink which represents the heart, therefore the health; white which represents the snow therefore purity; and green which represents the plants and trees which signifies life.
What a symbolic and peaceful way to start the year and experience it through a home swap: with health, purity and life.