Okuizome = the baby`s 100 day ceremony

In Japan, parents celebrate the お食い初め Okuizome (which means first meal) when a child is 100 days old (or 110-120 days old in some regions). The child is presented with a beautiful selection of meaningful food/dishes and will in turn be granted with an abundance of food during his/her life.

Aiden will celebrate the Okuizome tomorrow (on his 111th day of life), not because 111 days is special, but because it is Thursday tomorrow (Yoshi`s only day off). I think Aiden`s little cousin Mone will do hers too. She will be 102 days old. I will try to get some cute pictures of the two of them.

Let`s have a look at some of the food that will be served.

An umeboshi (pickled plum) and/or a pebble/rock.
Some people bring a pebble or small, smooth rock from the local Shinto shrine. The act of `biting` the rock will help the baby develop strong healthy teeth.
The wrinkled pickled plum represents a wrinkled old person in the hope that the baby will live a long life.

Konomono (Pickled vegetables)
Nimono (boiled food)
Sumashi-jiru (Japanese soup)
This soup contains two clams which look almost identical. The hope is that the child will some day find a partner to share his/her life with.
Sekihan (red rice)
This dish, made with sticky rice and red beans is often served on auspicious occasions in Japan.
...and of course, the Tai (sea bream)
The sea bream (served with the head and tail intact) is homonymous with mede-TAI which means joy and celebration in Japanese.

The food is presented on the table in front of the seated child and one of the parents pretends to feed each dish to the child. NONE of the food is ingested or even enters the mouth. It is symbolic only!

Thanks to this website (Japanese only) for the beautiful pics.

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