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“Nanakusa Gayu”, the traditional Japanese New Year’s food2013.01.07

In Japan, people cooks porridge called “Nanakusa Gayu”, which means “Seven herbs porridge” on January 7th.

“Nanakusa” are seven in-season herbs which typical in Japan.

These are the seven herbs!

Japanese name / Kanji / English name

“Seri” / 芹 / Japanese parsley
Seri has a good smell. Cute white flower blooms in July to August.

“Nazuna” / 薺/ shepherd’s purse
Nazuna used as medicine and curse of the insect repellent in Japan since ancient times.

“Gogyou” / 御形 / cottonweed
“Gogyou” soothes the pain of the throat.

“Hakobera” / 繁縷 / chickweed
“Hakobera” makes the blood circulation better, and used for women as the supplementation of the after giving birth

“Hotokenoza” / 仏の座 / Lamium amplexicaule
“Hotokenoza” is helpful for the prevention of hypertension.

“Suzuna” / 菘・鈴菜 / a turnip
“Suzuna” is a traditional Japanese vegetable, and it contains a lot of vitamins.

“Suzushiro” / 蘿蔔・清白 / a Japanese radish
“Suzushiro” has the good effect for diarrhea or indigestion. The leaves are also used as a bath additive.

In Japan, it is believed that if people eat “Seven herbs porridge”, they can get new life force from the natural world, and they can live longer in good health.

This custom was came from China originally, and enforced at the imperial court in the Heian period (approximately 1310 years ago), and it was spread to the common people in a defferent style.
In Edo period (approximately 400 years ago), this custom established as the national official event, so all samurai generals and their servants ate this porridge.

In nowadays, the meanings had changed as seven herbs have a effect to restore many nutritional gastrointestinal which weakened by eating too much of the feast of the New Year.

Let’s cook and try it!

"Nanakusa Gayu", the traditional Japanese New Year's food

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