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Every year from October onward, the food halls of department stores, mail order catalogs, online shops and more are filled with colorful displays of osechi ryōri, New Year’s feast food. This display of abundance may seem a deep-rooted Japanese tradition, but its history is not that old.

The word “osechi” originates from “osechiku,” seasonal events that were celebrated several times throughout the year at the Imperial Court during the Heian Period (794-1185). These were times for feasting as well as making food offerings to the gods.

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