Udayavni Special

What is ‘Fukubukuro’, Japan’s New Year lucky shopping bags custom?


Team Udayavani, Jan 2, 2021, 3:10 PM IST

Fukubukuro or lucky bag is a tradition on New Year’s Day in Japan where merchants of all kinds pack bags with goodies and sell them at a significant discount.

The term fukubukuro is comprised of two Japanese words: fuku, meaning good fortune or luck and fukuro meaning bag

It is said that the practice began as a way to get rid of leftover merchandise, but soon became a highly anticipated end-of-year event. It was inspired by a Japanese superstition that merchants should not begin a new year with old merchandise.

Following which many shop owners followed suit and began developing innovative ideas of getting rid of old goods while still making a profit.

It resulted in creating the Fukubukuro bags, which merchants filled with last-season items or excess merchandise at substantial discounts.

While they all contain different items, everything inside the bag is much, much cheaper than its retail price. Most bags range from a few hundred to ten thousand yen.

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