Today is Ohmisoka(å¤§æ™¦æ—¥), last day of the year 2008.
Wondering what is japanese (must) eat dish of the day?
I would like to introduce you the meaningful and healthy Japanese dish for new year eve,Â toshikoshi-soba (å¹´è¶Šã—ãã°), literally â€œyear-passingâ€ soba.Â Japanese eat toshikoshi-soba with the family while listening to the ringing of joya-no-kane (é™¤å¤œã®é˜),Â the New Yearâ€™s Eve bells which are struck at the same time at every temple throughout the country.
In Japan eating soba as the final item on the New Yearâ€™s Eve supper is a wide spread custom. Even people who do not eat soba often are tempted to eat soba during the last days of the year, based on the unique customary thoughts from the ancient times that we cannot finish up the old year without eating soba. There are some reasons why soba but not any other kind of food:
(1) Soba is narrow and long in shape,so it symbolizes a wish for long life.
(2) The oldest story, from the Kamakura period, is that in Hakata, Kyushu, a businessman from China distributed buckwheat dumpling to poor people on the last day of the year and the following year their fortune changed for the better. So eating soba on New Yearâ€™s Eve became a tradition.
(3) The most persuasive explanation is that in the Edo era, goldsmiths used to clean factory floors with soba dumplings to pick up any gold dust on the last day of the year. So merchants started to eat toshikoshi-soba to collect â€˜moneyâ€™, as gold or kin in Chinese characters means â€˜moneyâ€™. Eventually ordinary people ate soba wishing for good fortune in money.
In Japanese culture, soba noodles have always symbolized good fortune. On New Yearâ€™s Eve, Japanese eat toshikoshi-soba, recalling incidents of the past year and looking forward to the coming year. (more…)