How do Japanese people celebrate Mother’s Day ?
Mother’s Day was once combined with the celebration of the Empress’ Kojun birthday who was the mother of Akihito (Japan’s emperor at the time). Her birthday was celebrated on the 6th March 1931. It wasn’t until 1949 that the Japanese decided to align the holiday to be on the same date as other countries being on the second Sunday of May, which means this year, it will fall on Sunday 8th May. Unlike the U.K. which has their Mother’s Day back in March.
In Japan, mother’s day is called ‘Haha no hi’; the word ‘haha’ is the informal term for your own mother – much like we use the word ‘mum’! The formal term for mother in Japanese is ‘Okaasan’.
Japanese children use this day to show their love and appreciation, and to give presents to their mothers. It has now become one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants and shops.
The most common gift on Japanese Mother’s Day are carnations especially the red or pink variety. In Japan it is a symbol of a mother’s purity, sweetness and endurance.
Throughout Japan, businesses and well-known department stores decorate their window displays with carnations although the carnations is not native to Japan, their symbolism has become a popular choice for Mother’s Day.
Other gifts given on Mother’s Day could be carefully drawn kanji calligraphy, personalised arts and crafts, clothing or Lacquerware jewellery boxes.
This Fukunishi Sobe Chrysanthemum Aizu Lacquer Two Tiers Jubako Bento Box from musubikiln, could easily be used to store treasured items .
Mothers are celebrated for their home cooking in Japan. The memory and uniqueness of one’s own mother’s food is encapsulated in the term ‘ofukuro-no-aji’ or ‘that unforgettable taste of one’s own mother’s cooking.’ I have talked about this in another of my blog posts, “Natsukashii & Ofukuro no aji” A taste of home.
On Mother’s Day children often rise early to greet their mothers with flowers and breakfast. Mother’s Day in Japan is symbolically associated with eggs, so whipping up an egg-based Japanese dish is a way to celebrate! Some egg dishes include Oyakodon A chicken and egg rice dish which literally translates as ‘parent-and-child-donburi’. Chawanmushi (savory steamed egg custard) Tamagoyaki (Japanese egg omelet or Omurice ( omelette over rice)
However if your vegan you could easily make something similar by substituting the eggs for tofu. There are now quite a few egg replacements on the market but I still like to use tofu and I think it also makes it a little more authentic for a Japanese meal.
How about making a tofu scramble to surprise your mother for a special breakfast.
or my omurice recipe for a delicious lunch you could even make a special afternoon tea with vegan egg shokupan sandwiches.
A special meal could be something like chirashi sushi a scattered vegetable sushi that you could make pretty by using flower shaped vegetable cutters and adding vegan scrambled eggs.
If you are in the U.K. you could surprise your mother with a Japanese Mother’s Day for an extra special gift. If you are celebrating this day on the same day as japan why not include some carnations in your gift or make a Japanese themed meal.
Greet her in the morning with
Ohayōgozaimasu Happī haha no hi
Good morning happy Mother’s Day.
Haha itsumo arigatou – Mum, thank you for everything.
How to make tofu vegan omurice オムライス
A classic Japanese comforting home cooked dish, popular among children and adults-alike.
Add to cooked rice some sautéed chopped vegetables of choice like bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, sweetcorn etc then place back in your rice cooker on warm.
Then make your omelette batter.
Half a block of silken tofu, 2/3 cup of plant based milk,2 table spoons of nutritional yeast,1/2 teaspoon of turmeric,1 tablespoon of potato starch, salt and pepper and a teaspoon of ground Kala namak also known as Himalayan black salt this will give your omelette a slightly eggy flavour. Blend all this together in a food processor .
Spoon the mixture on to some parchment paper that’s been cut to fit your frying pan ( skillet) and spread it out. This is my non stick no oil tried and tested way to make my tofu omelette. I find it easier to cook on one side, adding a lid over it while it cooks, then to turn it top the mixture with another sheet of parchment paper slide it from the skillet and on to a plate and then flip it over back onto your skillet.
Spoon your vegetable rice onto a plate and top with your omelette .
In Japan you often see this dish topped with tomato ketchup.
Alternatively you can leave the omelette in the pan and spoon the rice onto half the omelette then fold over the rice with the other half and slide off the parchment paper onto a plate .