お節料理(Osechi-ryori) is traditional dishes for New Year’s holidays (the first to third of January).  “節 (sechi)” of “Osechi-ryori” refers to 節日 which is a holiday at the turn of a season and New Year’s Day is special among those 節日(holidays).  Family members get together and have the Osechi-ryori made of food that is believed to bring good fortune.

Old custom

On the first of January, the family welcomed 年神様 (Toshi-gami, a deity of the year) and prayed for a good harvest and well-being of the family for the new year.  Osechi-ryori was made to offer to the deity on New Years Eve.  It was believed that, on New Years Day, the family had the Osechi-ryori down from the deity.   During those holidays when the deity stayed with the family, nobody cooked or went into a kitchen.  On the last day of the year, people cooked many dishes that kept long and had them during the three holidays.

Some examples of the ingredients

  • 海老(Ebi, Prawns) : Its curved shape is a symbol to live long until you stoop.
  • 数の子 (Kazu-no-ko, Herring roe): It means a lot of children and prosperity of descendants
  • 黒豆(Kuro-mame, Black soybeans): Other meaning of Mame (soybeans) is health, symbolizing healthy life.

    Image: http://www.kibun.co.jp
    Kuromame

  • 昆布巻(Kobu-makii, Seaweed): It is a pun of Yorokobu (joy), meaning happy family.

Image: http://www.kibun.co.jp
Kobumaki

 

Osechi-ryori

Uploaded on 28 Sep 2011 by smilekensakutai