Toshikoshi-soba (Year-passing soba)
Noodles are one of the most favorite foods of the Japanese.
Soba(buckwheat noodles) is long, thin brownish noodles made from a mixture of sobako(buckwheat flour) and wheat flour. The ratio of the mixture varies depending on the shop or region. There are two ways of eating soba. Soba is eaten in hot soup, but also is served cold on a bamboo plate and dipped into flavored sauce(soy-based sauce), in which case it is called zaru-soba.
In Japan eating soba as the final item oｎthe New Year’s Eve supper is a wide spread custom. This dish is called toshikoshi (literally “year-passing”) soba and it symbolizes,as the name indicates,the old year’s passing. We eat toshikoshi-soba with the family while listening to the ringing of joya-no-kane, the New Year’s Eve bells which are struck at the same time at every temple throughout the country.
It is said that this tradition became popular among the common people in the middle of the Edo era. What is the orign of toshikoshi-soba? There are many versions of it. Here are some examples.
・Soba is narrow and long in shape,so it symbolizes a wish for long life.
In Japanese culture, soba noodles have always symbolized good fortune. On New Year’s Eve, we eat toshikoshi-soba, recalling incidents of the past year and looking forward to the coming year.