Omisoka

Healthy Mama - - Greating Family Traditions -

Ja­panese New Year is one of the most im­por­tant dates in the Ja­panese cal­en­dar. The night’s cel­e­bra­tions usu­ally start with the broad­cast­ing of Kōhaku Uta Gassen on na­tional tele­vi­sion. This song con­test has been run­ning since 1951 and

It runs for 4 hours and is one of Ja­pan’s most watched TV shows. Af­ter­wards fam­i­lies and friends gather to eat toshikoshi-soba or toshikoshi-udon noo­dles. Toshi-koshi means “cross­ing over from one year to the next” and long noo­dles are re­quired to make the cross­ing, to sym­bol­ize a long life and a let­ting go of the old be­cause the noo­dles are eas­ily cut through. Cook­ing on New Years Day is con­sid­ered bad luck so Osechi is pre­pared in ad­vance. Th­ese morsels of good­ness may con­sist of boiled sea­weed, fish cakes, mashed sweet potato with chest­nuts, sim­mered bur­dock root, sweet black soy­beans, and mochi rice cakes. At mid­night Bud­dhist tem­ples ring their bells 108 times to sym­bol­ise and cleanse all the worldly de­sires that cause hu­man suf­fer­ing. To end the fes­tiv­i­ties on Jan­uary 7th a cleans­ing 7 herb soup is pre­pared to clear out the over­worked di­ges­tive sys­tem.

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