knits by sachi

Japanese greeting cards

on December 29, 2013

Japanese greeting cards

I found this card in one of the souvenir boxes under the bed.

It was in the New year’s card extras left over form several years ago. Since I had inserted my boys’ photos I couldn’t throw it away.

Here is another design.


For us, Japanese, New year’s Day is much bigger event than Christmas.
We don’t have the custom of sending Christmas cards, but we send New Year’s Day postcards instead.

Their original purpose was to tell your faraway friends and relatives that you are well, but you can send them to anyone you like. My mum send them to her next door neighbours.

Japanese people send these postcards so that they arrive on 1 January. The post office guarantees to deliver the greeting postcards on 1 January if they are posted within a time limit, usually before Christmas, and are marked with the word “Nenga”, New year’s card.

The official Nenga post cards made by the Japanese National Postal Service come with lottery numbers.
You can win something from postal stamps to sunny holidays, i-pods and digital cameras!

But you may be thinking, wait, you send these cards away to your friends? Yes, that is correct. The recipients get the prizes!

It is fun to design your own cards. These days many people use their PCs and layout photos, words and illustrations, but some still enjoy using pens and rubber stamps. My mother in law is a professional calligrapher so we get to see her beautiful brush strokes every year.

It is popular to have the Chinese zodiac sign of the New Year as their design. Next year’s sign is “horse”.

It is customary not to send these postcards when one has had a death in the family during the year. In this case, a family member sends a simple postcard to inform others.

Even with the rise in popularity of email, the New year’s Day cards remains very popular in Japan. I hope we get some next year, too.

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