The New Year's Meal in Japan - Ritual and Symbolism
The New Year's meal in Japan is always served in the home of the head of the family. Each food is specially chosen because it symbolizes happiness. There are numerous variations in the ritual, depending on region. However, everyday culinary products take on a sacred and symbolic character at new year. Mirin, sweet rice wine, used as a beverage and a traditional cooking ingredient, is flavored with pepper and spices and offered to each guest in a three cup course.
On the menu:
artfully displayed in four level fold-out boxes are
slices of kamaboko, a fish loaf
tai and dai dai - Japanese oranges whose name means generation after generation
chrysanthemum leaves - the imperial flower
carp - symbol of an indomitable spirit
urajiro - lucky ferns whose white underside represent pure intentions
In Japan at New Year, every food is specially chosen as a symbol of happiness; lobster is part of the typical menu.
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