New Year’s Eve is the most eventful night of the year – except this year, of course. New Year’s Day, in contrast, is a far quieter occasion where families spend time together and partake in New Year traditions such as visiting the shrine for hatsumode and eating osechi, traditional New Year dishes that said to bring good fortune.
A few centuries ago, it was considered taboo to use the hearth for cooking in the first three days of the new year. For this reason, New Year meals were prepared a few days in advance, and often marinated or preserved.
These days, while people may not be so worried about using the stove, osechi is still eaten for the sake of tradition and good luck. The auspicious dish, often presented in gorgeous boxes much like a luxe bento, is filled with symbolic ingredients, each thought to signify something prosperous.
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