What do we do after New Year’s day?

Japanese traditional culture

Happy new year 2021!! It’s Yuko. Did you have wonderful New Year’s holidays?

During the year-end and New Year holidays, I think many people stayed home and celebrated the New Year with their families to refrain from going out unnecessarily, and it was very cold too!

Today, I would like to talk about events after the New Year’s day.

Today’s topic

What do we do after New Year’s day?
What is Nanakusa-gayu?

What do Japanese do after New Year’s day?

New Year holidays period

Do you know when the New Year period ends? The answer depends on the region.

The New Year holidays period is called “Matsunouchi”, and most of the matsunouchi period has the following two patterns.

・ January 7: Many regions such as Tohoku, Kanto, and Kyushu
・ January 15: Kansai region

Removing the New Year’s decoration

Japanese decorate shimenawa and kadomatsu which are the traditional decorations for New Year’s Day.

This New Year’s decoration will be removed and disposed after the New Year holidays, but do you know how we should dispose of it?

The New Year decorations will be burned at a festival called “Sagicho” after matsunouchi period, and the Toshigami(New Year God) will be sent off to heaven with the flames. And we bake Kagami mochi(Rice cake for this period) with the fire and eat it.

Sagicho is called “Dondoyaki”, “Tondoyaki” or “Onibi-fired” depending on the area.

If you do not have Sagicho in your area, please check with a large shrine nearby (eg. Gokoku Shrine) to see if they do the similar event.

In case you cannot join that kind of even, don’t worry! You can also dispose of it according to the local garbage disposal method. God is looking at you properly and he doesn’t get angry at that!

Spread the newspaper and put salt on it, “right, left, middle” to cleanse it. Wrap the decorations in the paper, put it in a bag separate from other garbage and put it away.

Eating Nanakusa-gayu (porridge)

Nanakusa-gayu(porridge) is an event meal that is eaten in the hope of a good harvest for the year and no illness.

Around the beginning of the new year, a set of seven herbs for this porridge will be lined up at the supermarket.

Found it at Daiei

Nanakusa-gayu is eaten on the morning of January 7th every year. This day is the day of the festival called Jinjitsu Day. It is one of the five festivals such as the girl’s festival and the boy’s festival.

Eating Nanakusa-gayu is the first festival event of the year.

The seven herbs sprout in early spring, so it is said to dispel evil spirits.
It is also said to be eaten to rest the stomach tired from treats of New Year dishes.

The seven herbs of Nanakusa-gayu are “Seri, Nazuna, Gogyo, Hakobera, Hotokenoza, Suzuna, Suzushiro”.

How to cook Nanakusa-gayu

It’s very easy to cook when you have a rice cooker.

Ingredients (for 2-3 people)
Rice: 75g
Seven herbs: 1 pack
★ 1/2 tbsp of chicken stock
★ 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil
★ 1/4 tbsp of salt

1. Wash the seven herbs quickly, and cut suzuna and suzushiro with the skin into ginkgo shape. Cut off the other herbs’ roots and cut into small pieces.
2. Wash the rice and drain it well. Put rice and seasonings marked with a star in the rice cooker, and add the amount of water for the porridge. Switch on the porridge mode according to your rice cooker.
3. After the porridge is cooked, immediately mix the seven herbs with it and leave it for about 3 minutes to complete.

There are other ways to make porridge using already cooked white rice or to make porridge from rice in the pot. If you’re interested let’s share the idea!

May 2021 be a wonderful year!!


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