Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Japanese Traditions

In Japan New Year's is a bigger holiday than Christmas.  They send New Year's cards like this on the left.

Bamboo = lucky.

Some rice cakes stacked one on top of the other and then a tangerine or clementine on top = lucky

Cat waving one paw = lucky

Also some traditional food to eat. This is called "Osechi ryori" each food has a special meaning.

at Midnight must eat noodles for long life.  Other examples include:

Kamaboko - a red and white fish paste.  The colors represent the Japanese Rising Sun and have a celebratory meaning.

Konbu - a seaweed and the characters mean 'joy'

Kuromame - a black soy bean.  'mame' means health

Tai - a red fish.  Tai means 'celebrate'

Tazukuri - dried sardines in soy sauce.  Means 'abundant harvest'.

There are tons more things to eat/cook.  Most people these days buy these pre-made boxes of stuff.  They sell them here locally and range anywhere from $35 (basic) to $300 for the more elaborate.

My brother-in-law is making mochi soup for my sister and myself since we're such slackers.  He learned to make the soup from watching videos on you tube. 

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