December 31st [New Year’s Eve] food

Toshikoshi soba is called “buck wheat New year’s Eve” in English.

Q:Why do you eat “soba” on New Year’s Eve?

    Toshikoshi soba has various meanings.

  • To wish for longer lives
    People hope they can spend their lives as thin and long as buckwheat noodles.
  • Cut off this year’s bad luck and hope for next year’s luck
    Since buckwheat is easy to cut, it is said that this year’s hardships and bad luck will be cut off and the New year will come.
  • To wish for wealth and fortune
    It is said that old gold and silver craftsmen used buckwheat flour to collect gold and silver that were scattered in the craft.
    Therefore, it was said that 「そばで金を集める」 (literally means “Collecting money by your side”) would increase your fortune.
  • To wish for no illness next year
    Even if the buckwheat is exposed to the elements, it will be rejuvenated when exposed to sunlight.
    Because so, people wish that they will be revived many times like buckwheat noodles.
    The ingredients for soba are different depending on the region. By the way, it seems that many families in Kyoto eat herring soba.

This is to get rid of the anxieties that human beings have and to welcome a New year with a pure heart. In Buddhism, it is believed that a person has one hundred and eight worldly desires. It is said that the Bell of New year’s Eve rings 108 times to eliminate those worldly desires. There are various theories about worldly desires, but it seems that the number one hundred and eight also means “a lot of things“.