O Kagami Mochi is a traditional Japanese decoration of Ano Novo, to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year. The Mochi kagami first appeared in the Muromachi period (XNUMXth to XNUMXth centuries) under the name of kagami (mirror).
It consists of two rice cakes (mochi) of different sizes, the smallest placed over the largest, and a Daidai (a Japanese bitter orange type) placed the top.
Kagami Mochi literally means "mochi mirror", and the explanation for this name is that the shape of the two mochi dumplings is similar to the shape of the copper mirrors used during the Muromachi period. In addition, the mirror has a very important significance for Shinto, because, along with the magatama jewel and the sword, it is one of its three sacred objects.
The two rucksacks, in turn, represent the past year and the year to come. Kanji writing for daidai is 代 々, and can mean (generation to generation), so Daidai symbolizes the continuity of generations and long life, while mochi symbolizes last year and next year. Thus, the Kagami Mochi symbolizes the continuity of the family over the years.
Traditionally, the Kagami Mochi was placed in various places of the house. Nowadays it is usually placed in a domestic Shinto altar, or is placed in the tokonoma, a small alcove decorated in the main room of the house.
O Kagami Mochi are usually made for decoration, from December 28 to January 11 (or on the second Saturday or Sunday of January) when a ritual called Kagami Biraki (the opening of the mirror), the first important ritual after the New Year. On 11, Kagami Mochi is broken into pieces and cooked either in a vegetable soup or an oshiruko (sweet azuki soup).