New Year’s Day (or Oshogatsu in Japanese) is the most important day for Japanese people, comparable to Christmas for western countries.
Osechi-ryori are specially prepared New Year dishes to be eaten during the first three days of January. Most dishes are cooked in order to be preserved for at least three days so women don’t have to cook during the period. Various kinds of beautifully prepared dishes are set in layered lacquer boxes. Although there are some regional differences in the contents of osechi, most of them are common to all parts of Japan. Each of the dishes has some auspicious meaning which reflects people’s wishes. For Example, kazunoko, herring roe, represents fertility, kuromame, cooked black beans, are for health (mame in Japanese means healthy and to work hard), and lobsters (or shrimps) are for longevity because their bodies are bent like an old person’s.
Zoni soup is eaten with Osechi ryorui. It is a soup containing mochi rice cakes, slice of kamaboko fish paste cake, and vegetalbles. Styles of Zoni also varies depending on the regions in Japan.
Special sake called otoso is served along with these dishes.
New Year’s decoration
New Year’s flower arrangement