Traditional Japanese New Year Meal

The Japanese people celebrate the New Year with Osechi - a series of dishes carefully prepared and put in special boxes; each dish has its own meaning luck.

Osechi dishes are placed in trays luxuriously, which is formerly eaten at important festivals, but now is common in most of the Japanese festival. Depending on the locale, the food in the tray will be changed. But the most familiar dishes are fish pie, egg roll, black beans, and fried shrimp ... with profound meaning.

Samples of an Osechi - Photo: Doyouknowjapan

Samples of an Osechi - Photo: Doyouknowjapan

Daidai: This is a type of Japanese oranges. As written in the erudite, daidai means "from generation to generation". It generally expresses the desire to have children in the New Year.

Datemaki: The sweet rolled omelette are often added ground or minced shrimp fish, symbolizing the desire to has many good holidays. On holidays, the Japanese casual wear traditional costumes as a part of enjoying themselves.

Amazing egg roll - Photo: Tsunagujapan

Amazing egg roll - Photo: Tsunagujapan

Kamaboko: traditional grilled fish cake consists of pink and white pieces are arranged in a certain form. The color and shape are the simulating image of sunrise, a unique symbol of Japan.

Kazunoko: "Kazu" in Japanese means "many" and "no" means "children". This herring egg dish symbolizes a wish to be gifted with numerous children in the New Year.

Konbu: is a kind of seaweed. It is associated with the word yorokobu, meaning "joy".

Japanese really loves seaweed – Photo: Takaojapan

Japanese really loves seaweed – Photo: Takaojapan

Kuro-mame: Mame means "health". Therefore, sweet black beans represent a desire to have good health in the New Year.

Kohaku-namasu: literally "red-white vegetable kuai," is made of daikon and carrot cut into thin strips and pickled in sweetened vinegar with yuzu flavor. The two colors symbolize for the celebration.

Tai: as red sea bream, Tai is associated with the Japanese word medetai, symbolizing an auspicious event.

Tazukuri: dried sardines cooked in soy sauce. The literal meaning of the kanji in tazukuri is "rice paddy maker," as the fish were used historically to fertilize rice fields. The symbolism is of an abundant harvest.

Zoni: a soup of mochi rice cakes in clear broth (in eastern Japan) or miso broth (in western Japan). This is considered the most traditional dish in Osechi.

Nishiki Tamago: the egg is separated before cooking, yellow color symbolizes gold, and white symbolizing silver. Both are combined to express the desire for prosperity and good luck in the New Year.

A perfect mix of colors - Photo: Sophiealamode

A perfect mix of colors - Photo: Sophiealamode

Ebi:skewered prawns cooked with sake and soy sauce. It symbolizes a wish for a long-life, suggesting long beard and bent waist.

JM (


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