Japanese tradition for the winter solstice

I always wondered why there were specific foods eaten around this time of year in Japan, but simply thought it was because they were in season. This is partially true, of course it is, but I also only learned yesterday that for the winter solstice, Japanese people like to eat things with a name that ends in ‘n’ ん, the last letter of the Japanese alphabet.

Like the alphabet, things ending in ‘n’ signify that we have reached the end, and that the circle begins again. That’s why pumpkin, Daikon radish, and Ninjin carrots, are all popular choices at this time of year, and on this day in particular.

Of course the winter solstice means that the coldest days of the year are ahead, but it also means that the days will become longer! So, have some pumpkin soup, maybe some fried Daikon with mince, or perhaps a carrot soup, and embrace the winter, it’s going to be sticking around for a while, but it also brings more light!

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