2009/01/26

Japanese New Years

Food for the gods.

New Years Meal, called Osechi originated in the Meiji era and took form in the Edo period. An elaborate meal was created for the gods, which are believed to be present in each household. Preserved foods were most often used such as dried squid, shrimp, pickled vegetables and candied fruits. The following is the breakdown of some of the most popular items and their reasons for having their place in this special meal.

Black beans: Black is the origin of all colors and symbolizes a new beginning. The wrinkly skin represents fortune. There is a minute difference between the word for fortune Shiawase and Shiwayose, which means wrinkly.

Candied dried sardines: Prayer for a good and abundant harvest.

Plum: Ume plum is the first to bloom at the tail end of winter and is the fore-runner of spring. It symbolizes a new beginning and hope for the upcoming year. Ume, also called Bainiku contains the word, bai, which means to multiply.

Lotus root: The holes in the lotus root represents looking ahead towards a future free of obstacles.

Kuwai potato: The bud of the potato is left intact to symbolize growth and a strong life force.

Yuzu: Because the size of every Yuzu is pretty uniform, it represents stability. The abundant seeds symbolize fertility.

Pureed sweetened Yamato potato: Also called Kinton, it represents prosperity because it contains the word KIN, which means gold.

Ginko nut: The word Gin means silver, which also represents prosperity.

Smoked salmon: The word for salmon is called Masu, which means to prosper.

Daikon: The long and sturdy Daikon root symbolizes stability.

Every possible type of salted roe: Represents fertility and the continuation of the family name and legacy.

Red Snapper: Lives a long life of 40 years. It is believed to be the favorite fish of the god Ebisu.

Prawn: The curviture of the back resembles an old person and thus longevity is represented. It also resembles a snake that sheds its skin every year to grow into a new self.
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posted by hachikari at 23:25 | About Japanese food | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

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