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Osechi Ryori; Japanese New Year Cooking!

Marie MooreMarie Moore
Published Time
Posted on 
October 03, 2018
Modified Time
Updated last 
June 21, 2022

In Japan, the most important holiday of the year is New Years! Whereas Japanese employees and students don't really get any vacation during holidays like Christmas, at New Years all companies, schools and shops shut (apart from convenience stores, those N E V E R close) for several days and most people go home to their families. They watch New Year's specials on TV, visit shrines and temples and of course EAT!

So, what do they eat? Many may know about the fresh mochi people eat at New Year but the main food attraction is Osechi! The appearance of Osechi is almost like a Japanese snack crate, with several layers of food presented neatly in a box. Osechi became popular around the Heian period of Japan (794-1185) and since then people have continued eating it!

But what kind of food is in it? The types of food actually vary greatly depending where you buy it, or if its home made then of course the chefs preferences, but but generally Osechi contains foods that represent positive things like good fortune for the New Year. Though these dishes are of course traditional and may be considered weird Japanese food by some, but Osechi can contain things like; Datemaki (sweet rolled omelet with fish paste) representing a wish for auspicious days, Kamaboko (fish cake) representing celebration, Kuromame (black soybeans) representing health and so on.

Now with so many Japanese people buying/ordering Osechi from stores every year, it's big money. And unlike a snack crate you get every month this bad boy only comes once a year, so people pay big bucks! It's no wonder kawaii character companies like Sanrio are trying to rake in on the cash too by releasing this Hello Kitty Osechi for preorder!

You get two layers of delicious Osechi treats like the aforementioned datemaki and kameboko, as well as some sweet treats! All with added Hello Kitty cuteness in the mix!

You even get a special Osechi Hello Kitty bento box it comes in which you can keep forever! If you live in Japan then you can pre-order this Hello Kitty Osechi from now until the 10th of December here on Sanrio's online store. If you live outside of Japan, why not try making your own special Osechi foods!

What do you think of Osechi? Do you have similar New Years or special celebratory foods in your country? Let us know in the comments!

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