Description: During New Years, people would cook and eat long noodles believing it to mean having a long life.
Background: This tradition is something that the informant’s family engage in every year.
ML: My mom would cook a certain soba noodle dish on new years to signify a long life. Toshikoshi Soba I think.
Me: Is the noodles cooked in any special way?
ML: Not anything special, it’s just cooked soba noodles, it’s kind of just a symbol and not like a ritual, it’s just a dish as in like long noodles means a long life.
Me: And your family would do that every year?
ML: Yeah it’s always on new years.
Special traditions and events in the start of the new year is something that I believe to be quite universal. The practice of eating noodles for a long life is also something that is seen in other Asian traditions such as in China. In China’s case, it would also be done during birthdays, signifying that the person would live for years to come. Sometimes, people would say that eating longer noodle strands will extend your years. It’s obviously not true, but it’s a good way to signify a special occasion while trying to think positively about the future. Of course, any special occasion should be paired with good food or drink but that’s just my opinion.
Chinese Longevity Noodles – Author: Na Zhang and Guansheng Ma – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/307875115_Noodles_traditionally_and_today