When I had a stall in a Christmas Market in December, it was the day that it snowed all day in London. It is very rare to see snow and it is even rarer that snow stayed on the ground over night here.
Japan, where I came from, is a geographically long country lying from North to South with a high mountain range in the midlle almost like a back bone. That was why we have completely different weather depends on where it is. During winter time some places get lots of snow fall and people in such places have some special customs to spend their time. Apart from the obvious choice of Snowman, children in a snowy country make a cute thing with snow. It is a Snow Rabbit that is simply a snow ball made into a oval shape with two leaves as ears and two red berries as eyes to make a face.
Mochi Snow Rabbit
So I made my Snow Rabbit but it is not the traditional one with real snow. It was with ‘Mochi’ as my new Japanese sweet.
🎍 Happy New Year! 🎍
Another New Year has arrived.
Thank you all for visiting this Blog and supporting me.
I wish you all have a very Happy 2018!!
I have roughly explained about ‘Chushu‘ (the Middle of Autumn Day) and the Full Moon viewing custom in Japan in the previous post. However, there is another key character in this Story. It is a Rabbit.
In Japan we say there is a Rabbit living on the moon and makes (pounds) ‘Mochi’ Rice Cake on ‘Jugoya‘ the Full Moon. I think the story started because people in the old days saw a Rabbit shape in the pattern on the Moon.
However, there are several stories to back up the thought behind it.
- This is a story from India. ‘There were Fox, Monkey and Rabbit in a forest and they wondered why they were not human. They thought maybe it was because they did something bad before so they decided to do something good. One day an old man who was very tired and hungry appeared in the forest. Fox, Monkey and Rabbit wanted to help this guy. Fox hunted some animals and gave him some meat. Monkey climbed up a tree and gathered some nuts and fruits for this man. However, although Rabbit searched around he could not find anything for the old man then he asked the man to make a fire. The Rabbit said “I’m sorry I could not find anything for you so please eat me to survive” and jumped into the fire and died. This old guy was actually a god who came to test the three animals’ good deed. He was so moved by Rabbit’s selfless mind and felt pitty on him. He decided to leave the silhouette of the rabbit on the moon forever’.
2. In China it was said that rabbits were making medicine for immortality by pounding on the moon. When this story came to Japan the story changed that rabbits were making ‘Mochi (Rice cake)’ instead of medicine.
Anyway, it’s time to introduce my Moon Rabbits.
It is Japanese sweet which made of ‘Nerikiri‘ (White Bean Paste with Mochi) and Free from Gluten and Dairy & Oil.
Jugoya, Full Moon
It is becoming the middle of Autumn ‘Chushu (中秋)’. Actually it is this Thursday, the 15th of September this year and that is the day we can see the Full Moon. The night of the day is called ‘Jugoya / 十五夜’ (‘Jugo‘ means fifteen and ‘Ya (Yoru)’ means night). Basically it is the Fifteenth Moon from the New Moon, hence the Full Moon.
In Japan we have a custom of ‘Tsukimi (月見)’ (viewing the Full Moon) on this day. It came from China during Nara / Heian period (8-11 C) into the life of upper class people. They had a party viewing the Full Moon and read poems about it. Later on in Edo period (17-19C) it was taken to common people as well and the day was combined with the festival for farmers to hope for a good harvest.
Nowadays, it is still the same. We enjoy viewing the Full Moon. We look forward to the clear sky with the beautiful Moon. On the day we prepare for the night by placing ‘Susuki (Japanese Silver Grass)’ and of course some sweets. What kind of sweet the family have depends on which region where they live but mostly they are ‘Mochi‘ type.
Chocolate Full Moon Yokan and Rabbits
So I made these Japanese sweets for Jugoya Night, one is the Full Moon Yokan in Chocolate flavour and the other one is Moon Rabbit.