Winter Solstice in Okinawa

Here’s a special bit of Okinawan Culture.  Today happens to be the winter solstice (冬至).  Throughout Japan many families will offer rice at their butsudan (family shrines) and pray for good health in the coming year.  In the mainland they will offer white rice.

Okinawa has its own traditions, influenced by Chinese culture.  Here they offer a type of fried rice called juushi (じゅうし).  Since it is a special occasion they add a blue potato called ta-mu- in hogen(田芋 or たーむー). All together the offering is called toujijuushi (冬至じゅうし)。

Today for school lunch we had a bowl of toujijuushi and it was delicious.  In fact it all disappeared before I could get a photo of it.  So if you live in Okinawa, and today you had fried rice with bits of blue potato, now you know why.  It’s the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.