In this series of articles, we’d like to focus on Japanese traditional & seasonal dishes. Today’s topic will be traditional sweets called “Kashiwa mochi” eaten on Japanese children’s day.
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On May 5 every year, it’s Children’s Day in Japan. On this national holiday, children are celebrated and honored for their individual strengths, and happiness is wished upon them.
As a part of the celebration, we eat Kashiwa Mochi, rice cakes stuffed with sweet red bean paste and wrapped in kashiwa (oak) leaves.
-Children’s Day in Japan
The Children’s Day was originally called Tango no Sekku (端午の節句) and it was celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th moon in the lunar calendar. When Japan started to follow Gregorian calendar in 1948, the date was moved to May 5. Originally, Tango no Sekku was a festival for only boys but Children’s Day is now for both boys and girls (Girl’s Day or Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) is a festival for girls on March 3).
On Children’s Day, families fly huge carp-shaped streamers called Koinobori (鯉のぼり) outside their house. The Koi or carp symbolizes strength and success from a Chinese legend – a carp swam upstream to become a dragon.
Besides koinobori, we also display warrior dolls, miniature suits of armor, and warrior helmet called Kabuto, which are symbols of a strong healthy boy.
-What is Kashiwa Mochi?
Kashiwa Mochi are tender but chewy rice cakes stuffed with sweet red bean paste and wrapped in kashiwa (oak) leaves.
You may wonder why mochi is wrapped in an oak leaf. Since oak trees don’t shed old leaves until new leaves grow, Japanese consider oak trees as a symbol of the prosperity of one’s descendants.
These oak leaves are NOT edible; however, as they are wrapped around mochi, the nice earthy fragrance transfers to the mochi and it’s quite enjoyable.
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Japan has many seasonal foods and traditional Japanese sweets. As Japan’s leading culinary school in Tokyo, we are open for anyone who’s interested in Japanese Dishes. Please check our menu and class schedule below, and please feel free to contact us for your inquiry!
(Source of today’s article: https://www.justonecookbook.com/kashiwa-mochi/)