New Year’s Day. Time for celebration. Time for renewal. Time for thousands of wishes...
New Year's Card from Obachan
The handwritten Japanese says "A Happy New Year"
(Papercraft by DAISO 100-yen shop)
Long time ago, our ancestors developed so many ways to wish good luck for the new year when what they had was scarce, and we have been passing them down for hundreds of years. As a middle-aged woman, I see it more as a cultural wisdom rather than a blind obedience to unscientific nonsense.
My belief is that it is a blessing to have something you can actually see or do to work out your emotions (wishes, prayers, etc.) and traditional customs give the elderly something to pass down to the youth and make them feel being part of a big continuum. That is why I appreciate our traditions … only if they are not too rigid and complicated to make us their slaves. :P
Bowls of zoni soup waiting for New Year's ceremony
at my parent's house
On January 1, 2007, we (my parents, my younger sister, her husband and kids and me) performed New Year’s ceremony in the morning at my parents' house, as we do every year. See my previous post for the details of the ceremony. (There you can see what kind of zoni soup is in these bowls.) And I tell you what: this year dad forgot to use taro for the ornament we used in the ceremony.
Ornament(?) used in the New Year's ceremony
As I wrote before, I don’t believe in being a slave of a tradition, but regarding the New Year’s feast, I guess we were, again this time. Or it was more like mom was still haunted by the memories of having to make a big feast when she was younger… when our grandparents and mom’s relatives had the New Year’s feast together at my parents’ house. Every year in the past ten or so years, mom, my sister and I said, “Let’s make only 70% of this next year!” at the table. Well, let’s have our fingers crossed for the year 2008… ;P
Otoso (sake dedicated to god)
Here’s some photos from our New Year’s feast this year.
If interested, see these sites for explanations on the symbolic meanings of the food and my previous post for the reason why our family makes this kind of unorthodox osechi. I know... in our 2007 version of osechi, basically there was not much change from what we had last year and the year before. Oh, but let me add this for the sake of my niece: you see the rolled sushi in these boxes? She made them for the first time. Well, of course my mom cooked the rice and I made the egg/cucumber strips in the center, but my eleven-year old niece rolled the sushi. Usually when a beginner rolls sushi, it either turns out with too much rice squeezed in or turns out too loose to fall apart when sliced. But hers was almost perfect and we were all surprised.
On new year's eve, we packed three sets of three-tiered jubako boxes. The two above were my work.The rest was packed by mom, my niece and nephew while my younger sis prepared toshikoshi-soba (not instant noodles, of course!) for the whole family.
Osechi on the table ( Jan. 1st, 2007)
Sashimi (sliced raw fish)
Definitely too many jubako boxes... :(Yes, having New Year's feast at my parents' house means so much to me. But to tell you the truth, I’m so tempted to make my own version of osechi now. The osechi at my parents’ is geared more for kids, and now I really want to try out something different -- more orthodox and less brightly-decorated one, OR some westernized osechi ideas featured in magazines for young housewives. So you MIGHT see a post about "belated osechi -obachan’s version -" this weekend, if I still feel like it then.