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New Year greetings for a mourning person in Japan

Can somebody help me?
I sent New Year greetings to my Japanese friend (あけまして おめでとう ございます). He wrote back that when in Japan a person is mourning (his wife died in 2012) I should not send this phrase. I think it has been a mistake by me because of misunderstanding. But what should I write in this case?

For learning: Japanese
Base language: German
Category: Culture



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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Yes, we normally refrain from sending a new year's card and saying the phrase "おめでとう" to a mourning person. Instead we send a 寒中見舞い(kanchuu mimai/かんちゅうみまい) card saying;

    (Kanchuu omimai moushi agemasu/かんちゅうおみまいもうしあげます)

    (kyuu nen chuu wa osewa ni narimashita
    (kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu

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