Susuharai

Susuharai (Soot Sweeping)

December 13
In Japan, many people choose to give their houses a thorough cleaning at year's end. Worn or broken furniture and utensils and items that have been lost are replaced. New tatami mats, which are the thick straw mats on which people sit and sleep, are brought in, and damage to the paper sliding doors in traditional Japanese houses is repaired. In some areas, it is customary to tie pounded rice cakes ( mochi-bana, "rice-cake flowers") to the branches of willow trees as an offering to the gods. Friends and co-workers may also throw "year-end forgetting parties" known as bonen-kai .
SOURCES:
JapanFest-1965, p. 208