The Kagami-mochi first appeared in around 14th. The name Kagami is said to have originated from its resemblance to a mirror that people offered to God named Sai-jin on New Years day. This mirror also has a religious significance.
Traditionally the Kagami-mochi is broken and eaten in a Shinto ritual called Kagami-biraki, which means at the end of Oshogatus (Japanese New Years day). The word “ Break” doesn’t sound good, so they call it “ open” instead. Basically people used to open Kagami-mochi on January twentieth, but since Japanese famous historical figure, Tokugawa Iemitsu died on that day, it’s now common that people open Kagami-mochi on January eleventh.
Since it started as a ritual of warriors, people avoided cutting them with knife. That’s why they are broken by hands or hammers. It is said that they ward off bad luck from the family for the following years.
Those Kagami-mochi can be eaten as zenzai(red beans soup), or zouni(Japanese soup containing rice cakes). Eating red beans which contains a lot of dietary fibers does your stomach good.
Editor Naoko Okada.
Morita Farm（A-Net Farm Tokachi Co.,Ltd ）Rie Morita.