The calendar, introduced from China, is what started the osechi culture. The Japanese osechi culture began in the Yayoi period, and the current box style, sometimes in stacked box (not Maido's osechi), was introduced in the late Edo and Meiji periods. Let's take a closer look at the history of osechi.
Osechi started in the Yayoi period (710-794)
The history and culture of osechi can be traced back to the Yayoi period. During this period, rice cultivation spread from China to Japan. With the spread of it, Japan changed from a hunting-oriented society to a rice-crop-oriented one. The shift from hunting for daily food to rice cultivation enabled people to have a steady supply of food.
At the same time rice cultivation spread, the calendar also spread from China. The custom called sechiku spread as an offering to give thanks to the Gods for the harvest at each turning point of the calendar. Therefore, sechiku is the origin and root of osechi.
Osechi became a court event in the Heian period (794-1185)
It was not until the Heian period that osechi took root in culture. During the Nara and Heian periods, a court event called sechie was held, in which ceremonies were held in accordance with the calendar.
Rituals were held to pray for good health and longevity on sechichi, or turning points on the calendar, and osechiku was served as a celebratory dish during these sechie. Banquets called gosechie, held at the imperial court, were considered important.
In the Heian period, osechi were not eaten as a New Year's food, but as a celebratory food at all five festivals, and were called osechiku.
January 1 (New Year's Day)
January 7 (Hakuba)
January 16th (Touka)
May 5 (Tango)
November Dragon Day (Toyonoakari)
Osechi spread to the common people in the Edo period (1603-1867)
Osechi were celebratory food for the Imperial Court, but by the Edo period, it had spread to ordinary households.
In the Edo period, all of the five festivals became holidays, and ordinary households began to incorporate the official events of the shogunate into their daily lives. Osechiku became widespread, and people were able to enjoy sumptuous food five times a year.
Among these, emphasis was placed on New Year's Sekku seasonal festival food to welcome the New Year.
Jubako box style became the mainstream in the late Edo period and Meiji period (1868-1912)
Of the five annual Sekku festivals, emphasis gradually shifted to New Year's Day cooking on January 1st, the day the New Year was celebrated. From the late Edo period to the Meiji period, the style of packing osechi dishes in jubako boxes became common.
In the late Edo period, as is the case today, each foodstuff began to have its own meaning. The custom of making osechi dishes on Omisoka (New Year's Eve) and having the family gather to eat them together on New Year's Day was perfected in the late Edo period.
Many people have changed from cooking to buying in the Reiwa period (2019 - Ongoing)
In the old days, it was common to buy ingredients on New Year's Eve, make osechi dishes, pack them in Jubako boxes, and eat them with the family on New Year's Day. Today, consumer needs have become more fragmented with the shift to nuclear families, the increase in dual-earner households, the declining birthrate, and the growing number of unmarried people, and more and more people are choosing to buy osechi instead of making them.
In addition, there are now many osechi on the market that are not bound by the framework of traditional cuisine, but are a blend of Japanese and Western styles.
At Maido, we make and sell osechi with a fusion style that meets the needs of the times and are available for pre-order. We also sell them individually or as sets, as introduced here. Now, you must understand it is because of this historical background.
We hope you have found osechi products that meet your needs after reading this. Maido's homemade osechi are soon to be sold out, so if you would like to order them, please place your order now.
At Maido, we do the fusion style that consists of traditional Japanese dishes and modern Western dishes (14 kinds of dishes in total) that will give you a traditional Japanese New Years experience. You may pick up your order on 12/30 or 31.
Please check more details and place you order: https://www.maidoardmore.com/osechi2024
There is a lot of food items, housewares, stationery, and gifts available at the store and our online store, Maido! Kairashi Shop, where you can place your order for shipping or store pickup! Happy shopping. :)