The new year brings a fresh start, symbolized in some cultures by the cherubic baby New Year who replaces the old year that has come to a close. In Japan, the roly-poly god Hotei, who is often identified with Santa Claus, ushers in the new year along with six other gods of good fortune; together, they form the Seven Lucky Gods, or Shichi Fukujin in Japanese.
Megan Bryson, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a scholar of East Asian religions who studies the transformation of deities transformations over time. She often explains to her students that cross-cultural encounters produce new understandings and images of gods. Read the full article on The Conversation.
UT is a member of The Conversation, an independent source for news articles and informed analysis written by the academic community and edited by journalists for the general public. Through our partnership, we seek to provide a better understanding of the important work of our faculty.
Lindsey Owen McBee (865-974-6375, email@example.com)