Local Japanese-style New Year’s Cuisine and Traditions

Ryan Tatsumoto
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist

Today, people in the 50th still practice Japanese New Year’s, or oshögatsu, traditions by placing a kadomatsu near the home entrance, stacking the kagami mochi topped with a tangerine and consuming ozoni as the first meal of the new year. In Japan, people enjoy osechi ryöri during the first three days of the year.

The tradition behind osechi ryöri goes back centuries, to the Heian Period (794-1185), according to the website www.kcpinternational.com. And in those days, cooking or lighting the kitchen hearth was forbidden during the first three days of the New Year. Therefore, osechi ryöri  was prepared in the days leading up to New Year’s Day. And because refrigeration wasn’t readily available in most homes, osechi ryöri cuisine was either heavily salted, sweetened or pickled to make it safe to consume over the next few days.

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