Hatsumoude (Hatsumode) - first visit to a shrine of the year


Japanese people go to shrines to pray for the happiness of the new year on New Year's Day.
This visit is called "Hatsumoude" or "Hatsumode".
They throw coins into an offertory box.
5(=pronounced as "go") yen coins has a meaning "good luck of meeting new people" since "goen" means "chance of meeting" in Japanese language.
So people who are looking for partners usually throw 5 yen coins.
There's a rope hanging from the ceiling which has a bell stuck to the upper end of the rope.
People pull it to ring the bell after they throw coins, and they clap hands 2-3 times and join palms together and close eyes for minutes to pray.
This action is not special for New Year's Day.
We usually do this whenever we see an offertory box in shrines and temples.

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