Every New Year, most Japanese families start their first meal with "Osechi". Boxes of goodness filled with traditional Japanese dishes! These are traditionally made at home, however, now many families (especially those living in the city) pre-order and purchases these boxes from department stores and pick it up on the 31st.
The history of Osechi: Osechi boxes are originally for women to rest during the first 3 days of new years. People believed that a calm kitchen during the new years showed appreciation to the gods. The foods packed in these boxes are usually dried, simmered, grilled and are tasted with soy sauce and sugar so that it can be kept well during the 3 days. The food is packed in a fine box to wish for a great year. Some ingredients and dishes included in the boxes wish for a good year too - for example, the dish which includes fish eggs wish for good fertility within the family.
Now, Osechi comes in all shapes and sizes. The one my family purchased from "Sogo", a department store included Japanese traditional dishes as well as Chinese ones for fun :)
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