New year's is always filled with a lot of different traditions. May it be for religious, personal, spiritual, or cultural, we follow certain traditions to prepare ourselves for yet another year. Amongst the numerous traditions that we do before every new year, here are a few that I would like to share.
Mochi making is one of them that we do to prepare for the new year. If you noticed, I said making, not pounding! We cheat! We have a machine that kneads and beats our rice into mochi. We make the mochi a couple days prior to New Year's eve. We make about 20 sets and give them to the different relatives for them to take home and put up in their houses.
This is what it looks like when it first comes out of the machine. Unfortunately, I didn't take pics before or during the kneading process! :(
This is what it looks like after you mold it into little mounds! A set is 2 pieces stacked on top of each other. The bottom is a little larger than the top piece. Then it is topped off with either a tangerine or an orange.
This mochi is just for decoration. It is not for consumption. It is put up before the New Year as an offering to our ancestors as a sign of appreciation and thanking them for protecting the family.
Usually you put the tangerine on top of the smaller mochi, but since the tangerine is big we put it on the side.
Another tradition is to put up a Kadomatsu, which is an arrangement of pine branches and bamboo tied together with a straw rope decoration.
We put up the pine & bamboo branches, this is a little different than the real tradition. You put this up on both sides of your gate or entrance to your house. The pine tree symbolizes longevity.
We also make sushi on New Years eve. We make about 30 rolls and eat some that night, then save the rest for New Years day and give it away to people that come over.
Here are a few other traditions we practice!
We pop firecrackers to chase away the evil!
We toast and BANZAI, to welcome the NEW YEAR!
May the year bring only good things our way!
These are just a few of the traditions that I do every year. What do you do to prepare for the new year?! Do you have family traditions?