If you are lucky enough to live in Hawaii or vacation there over the festive season, there are several awesome traditions you can observe for New Year’s. These include firework displays, eating sashimi, drinking ozone soup as well as mochi pounding (rice pounding). It is believed that eating sashimi will bring prosperity in the new year and that the round shape of mochi will bring family harmony.

New Year's trivia: Mochi pounding, a wonderful New Year custom
New Year’s trivia: Mochi pounding, a wonderful New Year custom

Mochi pounding was done by Japanese plantation workers in the 19th century and involved an intricate ritual that included the rice being soaked for days and ceremonial mallets used to pound it into shape. These sticky rice cakes were once eaten by emperors and were symbolic of long life.

Many Hawaiian families prefer to buy mochi these days, but some still perform the tradition of pounding the mochi with usu and kine as part of their New Year’s celebrations.

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