At midnight on December 31, bells in Japan’s Buddhist temples ring 108 times to symbolize 108 human sins and remove 108 worldly desires.

At the Japanese New Year (正月) a special selection of dishes is prepared. Called osechi-ryōri (御節料理) these dishes consist of boiled seaweed, fish cakes, sweet potato with chestnut, burdock root, soybeans and rice cakes.

Similar to the Western custom of sending Christmas cards, the Japanese send New Year’s Day cards (年賀状) to their friends and relatives.