Dondo Yaki (どんど焼き)

In Japan, it’s considered unlucky to keep lucky items for more than a year. Instead of putting items in the bin, the lucky objects are traditionally burned and this is known as Dondo Yaki. Things that should be burned include omamori and items with that year’s zodiac sign. 2020’s zodiac sign is the mouse. Dondo Yaki takes place in January, so if you’re still hanging onto last year’s lucky charm, it may be time for a bonfire and to purchase a new one.

Wishing for good health and success in business in the new year with a bonfire flaming up, smoke soaring up high into the sky, and the sound of bamboo cracking. “Dondo-Yaki” is a traditional event in Japan. People build a tower with green bamboo, Japanese cedar, straw and reeds in an open area such as the grounds of a temple, a riverbed, rice field or other crop field and burn New Year decorations and Kakizome (the first calligraphy writing done at the beginning of the New Year) together with it. There is also a custom where good-luck charms, talismans and other lucky charms from last year are burned in thanks for the good luck they brought in the past year.

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