New Year’s Eve is called Ohmisoka(大晦日) in Japanese. As you can know from its Kanji, Misoka(晦日/三十日) stands for the last day of month, and Oh(大) means big. Therefore, Ohmisoka is the last day of year.
Especially Ohmisoka night is called Joya(除夜). There used to be a custom that people stay up late to welcome God, and this day was the only day children allowed to stay up late. There was a superstition that if you go to bed early at Joya, you will have white hair and the number of winkles on your face will increase.
On Ohmisoka, people eat Toshikoshi Soba(年越しそば) which is normal Soba but people have to eat before New Year comes. If you cannot eat Soba all, there is said you won’t have luck of money next year.
The reasons why people eat Soba come from its shape and name. Soba is a kind of Japanese noodle, and it is thin and long. One reason is praying for “people can live long and thin just like Soba”. Also, “gather the happiness at nearby” comes from the name, Soba which has the same pronunciation with nearby(nearby is Soba<側> in Japanese).
Moreover, chopped sliced spring onion, Negi(ねぎ) on Soba has meaning of “Rou o Negirau(労をねぎらう),appreciation for pains and troubles” from its same pronunciation.
Happy New Year everyone!
I wish all will have pleasant year! Have a good Ohmisoka eating Toshikoshi Soba! From Kayanon to All you.