Q. I’d like to know about Osechi !
A. Osechi refers to traditional Japanese new year food. We do many seasonal events based on old Chinese calendar, in which one year is divided into five periods by five days called “Sekku”. Long time ago, there was an imperial banquet on each Sekku and special feast called Osechi was prepared to celebrate new period so there used to be five Osechi meals. Commoners started to follow the imperial Osechi meals tradition and call the biggest Osechi meal in January Osechi. So Osechi this days specifically means the one in January, not all five. Current Osechi is prepared in Jyubako, three (four traditionally) layers big lunchbox like container, that represents layers of happiness. This Jyubako style Osechi was invented by department stores to make it look festive and fancy. Foods put in Osechi are cooked well or pickled at the end of this year to refrain from using fire during “Sanganichi (Jan 1st, 2nd and 3rd)”. This is not to upset god of new year or god of fire by being feverish in kitchen at the very beginning of new year and also to make sure foods stay good until “Sanganichi. There are some rules about what to put in which layer, which makes Osechi quite a bit of work to prepare at home. Some people still make it at home but this days more people just buy it off the shelf. This time of year, department stores, restaurants and even convenience stores start taking order for Osechi. The most expensive Osechi for 2020 I found on Mitsukoshi department store (Japanese version of Harrods) website is 330000yen (3000USD) ! I’ll write about some of Osechi components in next posts.
11/18/2022 01:03:15 pm
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Hi ! I'm Yoshimi, the owner of TOKYO KITCHEN !