Nanakusa-gayu, a lucky dish to eat in January

nanakusa gayu

Today is January 7th which is known as nanakusa no sekku (七草の節句) ,in Japan.

Historically the 7th marked the last day of Oshougatsu (Japanese New Years), and to this day, people eat Nanakusa Gayu (七草がゆ) to observe it.

We have nanakusa-gayu to rest our stomach. And to wish a perfect state of health for the year.
Of the many types of rice porridge in Japan, okayu tends to be very soft and very bland because it’s typically something you eat when you’re sick.

Nanakusa Gayu is no exception and aside from the cultural and spiritual significance, it’s not a highlight of the Japanese culinary repertoire. Some people eat it out of tradition, some eat it to make amends for their New Years gluttony, while others eat it out of the belief that it will ensure health and wellness for the rest of the year but I’ve yet to meet anyone that eats it because it tastes good.

The “nanakusa-gayu” is also effective in allowing our stomachs to rest when they have become exhausted from the copious meals of the New Year. This is because rice porridge is good for digestion, and the herbs used in it are also effective in helping the functions of the digestive organs.

Java water dropwort : increases appetite

Shepherd’s purse : rich in iron
Jersey cudweed : prevents colds and has an antipyretic effect
Chickweed : rich in Vitamin A
Japanese nipplewort : rich in dietary fiber
Turnip : rich in vitamins
Daikon : promotes digestion and prevents colds
"Nanakusa-gayu," a lucky dish to eat in January