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Oshogatsu: New Year’s Eve Ritual & Celebration

Oshogatsu is the Japanese Buddhist New Year’s Eve celebration. On New Year’s Eve, In Japan, at the stroke of midnight, temple bells across the country toll 108 times. According to Buddhist teaching, we have 108 earthly desires, defilements or “sins” that cause us to lose our tranquility and results in suffering – and by listening to the bells toll, we can dispel each defilement, one by one. through which we banish the “108 troublesome defilements of human-kind,” to begin the New Year afresh.

108 Defilements List

This ritual of ringing the bell and chanting the Bonsho [“Bell Chant”], called Joya-no-Kane, is a beautiful purification rite that encourages a spiritual fresh start for the coming year .

Each New Year’s Eve, Two Rivers Zen Community hosts Oshogatsu, The Ringing of 108 Bells, followed by a waka poetry-writing event and celebration.  Please join us as we ring the temple bell 108 times and chant the Bonsho for the benefit of all beings.

Sink into the beautiful spaciousness between each bell, as we sit together for Peace, renewal and forgiveness. We will follow with a traditional waka writing party, in the Imperial style, and write the first poems of the New Year. (Waka is a traditional Japanese 5 line, 31 syllable form, that is easy to learn and written and read aloud in Japan on each New Year’s Day).  Please help us celebrate the peace of the coming year.

Oshogatsu Bonsho Chant

“May the sounding of this bell
the trials and tribulations
that plague all beings.”

“Come, come quickly New Year’s Day.”


3rd Annual Oshogatsu, December 31, 2015

OSHOGATSU 2 2014 012

2nd. Annual, December 31, 2014


1st. Annual, December 31, 2013

Oshogatsu Poetry

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