Happy New Year! Hawaiian New Year’s traditions go way back centuries. Here are couple of our favorite Hau’oli Makahiki Hou (how-OH-lee mah-kah-hee-kee ho) traditions:
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, glutinous rice, pounded into a paste. Originally used as an offering during religious ceremonies in centuries past, mochi has been enjoyed as a New Year’s treat since Japan’s Heian Period (794-1185).
The pocket-sized treat is In mochitsuki, mochigome is cooked and pounded in a wooden or stone mortar called usu, until it is smooth and chewy, and then molded into various shapes by hand. Mochitsuki is a huge labor intensive undertaking, requiring the help of friends and family to make the process run smoothly.
The ingredients in ozoni, which mainly consist of mochi, dashi (soup stock) and vegetables, represent well wishes for the New Year: good fortune, peace, happiness and a long life, represented by the stretchiness of the mochi.
Midnight at the Beach
Some Hawaiians believe in the practice of going to the beach at midnight on New Year’s Eve to greet the first sunrise of the year over the ocean. It is thought to bring blessings and a fresh start to the year. This is also a great place to watch the fireworks displays, which are also a prominent part of the New Year’s tradions.
Also of note, cleaning of houses. This is so to not drag the old life into the New Year.