Teachers are so busy that they run all over the place!?

It’s already December, isn’t it? What kind of season is this in your country?
In Japan, December is also called “Shiwasu”. This is its name in the old, lunar calendar.
There are various explanations for the origin of the word. The most common is that monks were kept very busy at this year end season because many households asked them to come and recite the sutras.
The teachers, in other words, the monks were so busy that they had to run back and forth between all those houses, so it is said that the season came to be called “Shiwasu”, from the Chinese characters for “teachers run”.


A custom of finishing all this year’s business within the year

In Japan, the period from the year end to the start of the following year is called the “New Year’s holiday”, and is a time when everyone and everything is on holiday. There is a way of thinking which says that we should finish up all the old year’s business within the year, in order to be ready to greet the new year, and so December is generally a busy time.



Year end in Japan, a season full of events

What are the things that should be finished within this year?
Of course this includes work, but there are also many other things to do. We need to greet the people who have done something for us during the year (“Oseibo”), have parties with them and with our friends (“Bonenkai”), clean our houses in preparation to greet the new year (“Osoji”), and so on.
As well as these, there are also leisure plans such as Christmas parties, trips or going back to the family home, or skiing.
We’ll talk more about these in another article.
Oh, it’s so busy!



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