Don’t call it New Year’s Eve, call it “Joya-E,” our year-end observance.
At Joya-E, we reflect on events and people of the past year that have shaped our lives. It’s about understanding our karmic conditions and connections, and innumerable links to everything around us. Knowing without them, we could not exist. Consequently it’s a time to express our gratitude and appreciation.
Similar to all Buddhist services, we are encouraged to look at ourselves honestly, to see beyond our selfish desires, and to appreciate the greater life of Oneness.
By contrast, New Year’s Eve is about parties and future possibilities. Joya-E asks us to pause, consider past events and consider the meaning of life right now.
Many temples serve “soba” buckwheat noodles after the service, which follows Japanese tradition. Folk explanations about this custom relate to good fortune, long life and leaving hard times behind. However for us, it’s simply a nice activity and way to enjoy time together.