(Author: Mariko Fujita)
New Year’s (o-shōgatsu) is one of my favorite holidays. It’s not the eve, but the day itself that holds significance for my family. Since we Japanese-Americans function on the Gregorian calendar, January 1st marks the day we make and then consume an elaborate feast. The magic of a communal meal underlies the whole event, where folks receive nourishment in the fullest sense of the word. The generations mix and family recipes are recreated, as we draw upon the ties that bind.
My Baa-chan had a maxim that a clean house on New Year’s Day meant a clean house the year-round. In my family’s book, this principle extends to all aspects of life, not merely to matters of house-keeping. In essence, you begin the new year as you intend to keep it. In reflecting on how my family spends New Year’s Day, I would like to honor the tradition we have of annually (re)organizing our lives around love, community, and nourishing traditions.
This month marked the first healing event we’ve held as a collective, and during the event, I hope we channeled the spirit of o-shōgatsu. We chose to hold our Community Healing Night on January 21st: the day after inauguration, the day of the Womxn’s March, the week before Lunar New Year. With such timing, we found ourselves in the position of being both backward- and forward-looking.The aim of our event was to provide an opportunity for people to mingle and connect and take time for self-care.
I feel hopeful that we will continue in this vein for the year to come: that we will continue to support and be supported by our communities; that we will lean into those traditions that fortify us and give us resilience.
I would like to give many thanks to our wonderful neighbor-businesses on Beacon Hill who made donations to our Healing Night’s food spread. Shout out to The Station Coffee House and Victrola Coffee Roasters for their donations of caf and decaf coffees and to Despi Delite Bakery for their delicious ube cake! And we are so grateful to Ellaina Lewis (a new acupuncturist in White Center!) and Isaac for volunteering as our greeters during the event.