Sunday, January 5, 2020

やれやれ !Decoration term for New Year is usually until Jan. 7th and the customary "Kagami-biraki (cutting of New Year's rice-cakes) " takes place on the 11th, but I decided to remove the rice-cake from the alcove on the 3rd because I had had difficulty cutting them in slices a year before last year as they had become very hard like a stone. When I checked the day of decoration term of New Year's rice-cakes, there was an explanation about why we offer rice-cakes in the New Year and I was very interested in it. Among several theories, the easiest one is the following: God of the year is coming to our house in a New Year, so we offer New Year's rice-cakes. People believe that during the New Years celebration, God of the year stays in the rice-cakes. When the celebration term is over, we cut the rice-cakes and eat them which signifies the receival of good luck and power from God as well as prayer for a healthy year. We say "Kagami-biraki" which literally means, "opening mirror" instead of saying "cutting New Year's rice-cakes" to avoid using the word "CUT" which is not appropriate for the celebration. I thought it would be easy to make slices of the big rice-cakes in three days, but actually it wasn't. I needed to pay much attention not to hurt myself when I cut them because they were round shaped and already their surfaces had become hard but I was relieved when my Kagami-biraki was successfully done. Phew!