Kagami Biraki in Japan Date in the current year: January 11, 2016

Kagami Biraki in Japan January 11 is a traditional ceremony in Japan that is called Kagami Biraki. It is literary translated as “Opening the Mirror” and also “Breaking the Mochi”.

This ceremony relates to the opening of Kagami mochi, a traditional Japanese New Year decoration that consists of two round rice cakes (mochi) and a bitter orange (daidai) placed atop. For the first time Kagami Biraki was held about 300 years ago when the fourth Tokugawa Shogun introduced it. Before going to war he gathered his feudal lords in his castle to break open a sake cask.

The ceremony of Kagami Biraki is performed not only on January 11 (Japanese like odd numbers), but also at weddings, opening days at new companies, sport events etc. During the holidays round mochi stands in a household Shinto or Buddhist altar. When the day of the ceremony comes, mochi is broken with hands or a hammer. It is not allowed to cut mochi with knife as far as cutting has got negative connotations. Broken mochi is eaten by all members of the family.

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