Tradition in Japan
A lot of people in Japan eat soba, buckwheat noodles, on December 31st to celebrate the last day of the year. Anything could be toppings on your soba, for example, Tempura (deep-fried shrimp), Abura-age (deep-fried bean curd), or other kinds of vegetables, etc. Soba is one of the most popular daily Japanese meals which is not that special; however, is loved by most Japanese people, except for the ones who are allergic to buckwheat. Some may like to finish their meal of the year with Soba while watching famous Japanese music TV show called “Kohaku Uta Gassen” where most popular music artists of the year perform on the new year’s eve.
Why Soba on new year’s eve?
The tradition began during the Kamakura era (1185 – 1333) when the poor had not had sufficient rice to eat and used buckwheat to make mochi to celebrate the new years. In the following years, the people who ate buckwheat mochi had some good luck, which spread across the country and turned into the tradition to eat soba noodles made from buckwheat every new year’s eve in Japan.
Special meanings to eating soba on Dec 31
There are so many good meanings to eating soba on new year’s eve but one of the most famous ones is to live a longer life, as soba noodles are thin but long, which is almost like a symbol of our lives. The second most famous meaning is to welcome good luck in the coming year and say good-bye to bad luck in the past, as soba noodles can break easily which represent people warding off bad luck in their life.
The picture of soba shown is called “Mozuku soba” which is from Okinawa prefecture and uses seaweed as a topping. The soup broth is very mild and tasty with healthy seaweed on the top. The perfect soba to welcome the brand new year.