Osechi: traditional new-year dishes in Japan

By Yoshi, January 4, 2011

Most Japanese people enjoy special new-year dishes called “Osechi” during the first three days of January. “Osechi” includes a lot of food that can be kept for a long time. This means people can also relax a little during the holiday. Although there are some regional differences in the contents of osechi, most of them are common to all parts of Japan.
Each food of “Osechi” have a special meaning associated with good luck.

For example, herring roe called “kazunoko” symbolizes a wish to be gifted with children and cooked black beans called “kuromame” are for health (“mame” means healthy in old Japanese), sweet potato with chestnuts called “Kurikinton” is for wealth, etc. ”White & red ” has a auspicious meaning in Japan, so we eat white & red fish cakes called “Kamaboko” and salad of radish (white) & carrot (red).
Another traditional New Year’s dish is zoni, soup containing mochi, vegetables and other ingredients such as chicken or seafood. I love it!

At the end of the year, you can see a lot of “Osechi” foods at stores.



Usually, various kinds of dishes are set in four-tiered lacquer boxes like the following picture.

Beautiful, isn’t it? Hope you have opportunity to have “Osechi”!