In Japan, June 16 is the day of Japanese confectionery.
The origin of this tradition is that Emperor Ninmyo once prayed for the souls of the dead by offering 16 sweets and other items “so that you can live healthy and happily without illness” to the gods.
Therefore, the custom of eating wagashi on June 16 continued until the Edo period.
In 1979, the National Japanese Confectionery Association established this custom to wish for the revival of this custom (1979).
The association also wants to enjoy the “Japanese confectionery.” born in Japan’s four seasons and long history, and to pass it on to future generations.
In fact, most of what is now eaten as “Japanese confectionery.” originated in the Edo period.
The reason is that in the Edo period, the war was calmed down and peace was restored, allowing people to enjoy sweets.
Unique Japanese confectionery originated in towns all over Japan were also developed in the Edo period, and Kyoto confectionery and Jou confectionery of Edo developed rapidly.
Now, this time, when you eat such Japanese sweets, they become beautiful! I’ll tell you a happy secret.
１：pleasing and enriching with the eyes
The feature of Japanese confectionery is to express the season at that time.
It’s just the material inside and the outside design.
For example, in spring, they are unbaked sweets that are shaped like sakura mochi or cherry blossoms in accordance with the cherry blossom season.
In summer, to express its freshness, it is easy to eat sweets such as clear mizu-yokan.
In autumn, it is a sweet made of orange or yellow, or chestnut, which is associated with autumn leaves.
In winter, it is a sweet with a flower design that represents the silence of snow and winter.
Also, some Japanese confectionery are made only during the season. The name and appearance of sweets change according to the season.
For example, “Botamochi” and “Ohagi”.
Basically, there is no big difference, but spring equinoctial week is called “Botamochi”.
However, the autumn equinoctial week is called “Ohagi”.
The name “Botamochi” comes from the spring flower “Botan (Botan)”.
The name “Ohagi” comes from the flower of “Hagi (Hagi)” which is called the seven flowers of autumn.
As you can see, even the way of calling varies depending on the season.
The same can be said of tea ceremony utensils and tea parties, but both the eyes and the taste are expressed in order to enjoy “the time”.
We feel the season in our heart and the season in our heart.
２：”I want to eat something sweet!” In that case, you can eat it deliciously with ingredients that are good for your body.
Many Japanese sweets use red beans.
Red beans beans have a lot of nutrients and good ingredients for your body.
*high quality protein
->some essential amino acids are not synthesized in the human body
->serves to promote physical and mental health
->It is expected to be effective for poor circulation and anemia.
->By heating Red beans beans and sugar to make bean jam, the antioxidant effect is more effective.
In addition, red beans stimulate both mind and body to work well.
Of course, I don’t recommend eating too much, but enjoying a small amount with delicious tea will enrich your mind.
３：You can express your feelings for others and build a better relationship.
In the history of Japan, there is a custom to enjoy Japanese confectionery related to events of each occasion.
For example, New Year’s Day, Setsubun (the traditional end of winter), Hinamatsuri (Doll’s Festival), Obon (a Festival of the Dead or Buddhist All Souls’ Day), Tsukimi (moon viewing), Harvest celebration, Mochi-tsuki (rice cake making) and so on.
It’s an annual event, and Japanese confectionery related to that season is very familiar.
In addition, Japanese confectionery is related to the turning points in life.
For example, birth, entrance and graduation, coming-of-age ceremony, marriage, childbirth, funeral and memorial service for ancestors.
In 753, the day a 3 year old girl begins to grow her hair, the day a 5 year old boy begins to wear hakama, and the day a 7 year old girl begins to wear obi in an adult kimono.
We celebrate each milestone of growth.
So, I pray for my child’s longevity with Chitoseame which is a long and thin candy of red and white (Happy meaning as red and white).
Also, during Obon, in order to pray for the souls of our ancestors, flowers and vegetarian dishes are offered to Buddha as well as sweets to welcome them.
In this way, people have developed emotions with Japanese sweets.
It is also essential for “Souvenir” that connect people.
For example, local products, products that are easy to eat for the recipient, Ochugen (summer gifts) in time of greeting, seasonal products such as Oseibo (year-end gifts), etc.
The Japanese culture of giving to and from a recipient uses wagashi to express a feeling of “I value you.”.
In this way, Japanese sweets is not only “Sweets” but also a tool to enjoy seeing, to enrich one’s mind and to facilitate human relations.
Well, such Japanese sweets are eaten before Matcha in tea ceremony.
There are three reasons for this.
*This is to keep matcha from getting in your stomach when you are hungry.
Matcha is good for your health, but it sometimes stimulates your stomach when you are hungry.
So, you can relax by eating Japanese sweets first.
*Matcha is the main ingredient, so sweets plays a supporting role.
If you feel the sweetness first in order to enjoy Matcha, the taste becomes deeper.
*For smooth tea party etc.
You can enjoy Japanese sweets while eating it deliciously, and drink up all the freshly made matcha.
With this procedure, the tea ceremony will be smoother and you will be able to enjoy the most delicious Japanese sweets and matcha.
While it’s fresh, it’s important.
Please have a good time with seasonal Japanese sweets!