Oshogatsu, which is the New Year, is considered the most important holiday in the Japanese tradition.
It is celebrated by spending time with friends and family and by eating Osechi-ryōri, which consists of special traditional New Years day foods. Each of these foods has a special significance and is believed to bring health, prosperity and good luck.
My mother in law, Atsuko, makes the most amazing Osechi-ryōri every year. Her painstaking efforts are thoroughly appreciated by the whole family who enjoy all the delicious foods she spoils us with.
Some of the food we eat are:
( Food descriptions taken from http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art39542.asp)
Datemaki (sweet egg omelet roll): Slices of rolled omelet. Its golden hue symbolizes gold and wealth while the egg itself represents fertility and children.
Kamaboko (steamed fish cake): Store-bought, kamaboko usually has a pink rim on the outer edge of white fishcake that is shaped in a half-dome log.
Kazunoko (herring roe): Crunchy, salty fish eggs that are held together in a thin membrane unlike other fish eggs that are loose. Kazunoko represents many offspring.
Kuri kinton (sweet potato mashed with chestnut): The golden color represents prosperity.
Kuromame (black beans): Simmered in sugar, these sweet black beans are eaten for good health in the coming year.
Nimono (simmered vegetables): Usually, cut root vegetables and mushrooms are simmered in dashi, mirin and soy sauce.
What a wonderful way to begin the year!
Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!
Happy New Year!