I received this beautiful jubako box from my mother for Christmas! She found it at an antique show she went to this summer. Isn’t it gorgeous? Jubako are stacking bento boxes used for osechi.
Osechi is a traditional New Years dish (meal?) in Japan. It’s a collection of foods prepared before New Years to be eaten during the holiday. Originally, the boxes were put together so that the women of the house wouldn’t have to cook during the first three days of the New Year. In the Heian period, cooking was forbidden during the first three days of the New Year. The only exception to this rule was making ozoni, a New Year’s soup with mochi. That made osechi a necessity during the time. These days osechi is simply a good luck tradition. In December, a a large selection of osechi cookbooks begin to appear in stores for people planning to make their own. You can also buy pre-made osechi from restaurants and specialty shops or purchase pre-made osechi dishes to create a personalized flare without the cooking.