Today is the day when tradition has it we should eat our nana-kusa. While these plants are often translated as the "seven herbs of spring", it would be a lot more accurate to call them the seven herbs of mid-winter, as there are a couple of months to go of chilly-to-freezing weather until spring really arrives.
Whatever the season, they are supposed to be VERY good for you. So good that just blogging about them will keep you healthy for a year!
This was the counter display at a little ryoriya we visited on the final day of last year…
And this was the explanation of the various plants that was hanging on the display:
The exact composition of the nana-kusa varies according to local tradition -- and often different names are used for the same herb. These are the seven plants illustrated here:
- seri (water dropwort)
- nazuna (shepherd's purse)
- ogyo (aka hahakogusa: cudweed)
- hakobera (chickweed)
- hotoke no za (nipplewort)
- suzuna (aka kabu: turnip)
- suzushiro (aka daikon: white radish)
Addendum: even Google has been getting into the spirit today with a special doodle on its Japanese site to mark the ausicious occasion. How cool is that?