A Happy New Year!!
This is what my mom prepared this morning as osechi, the traditional Japanese New Year’s foods. Each dish has a meaning and they’re all symbolizing good luck. Originally, these foods were made before the new year as women didn’t cook in the new year. The foods are made to last for days so they are salty or sweet. My mom didn’t make everything, she buys some and she makes some. The kuromame is always from my grandma and I love it!
Below are explanations of some of the dishes I found in Wikipedia! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osechi)
- Datemaki (伊達巻 or 伊達巻き), sweet rolled omelette mixed with fish paste or mashed shrimp. They symbolize a wish for many auspicious days. On auspicious days (晴れの日, hare-no-hi), Japanese people traditionally wear fine clothing as a part of enjoying themselves. One of the meanings associated with the second kanji includes “fashionability,” derived from the illustrious dress of the samurai from Date Han.
- Kamaboko (蒲鉾), broiled fish cake. Traditionally, slices of red and white kamaboko are alternated in rows or arranged in a pattern. The color and shape are reminiscent of Japan rising sun, and have a celebratory, festive meaning.
- Kazunoko (数の子), herring roe. Kazu means “number” and ko means “child.” It symbolizes a wish to be gifted with numerous children in the New Year.
- Kuro-mame (黒豆), black soybeans. Mame also means “health,” symbolizing a wish for health in the New Year.
- Kohaku-namasu (紅白なます), literally “red-white vegetable kuai,” is made of daikon and carrot cut into thin strips and pickled in sweetened vinegar with yuzu flavor.
- Tazukuri (田作り), 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.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year…!