Osechi Ryori is a traditional Japanese food on new Years Day. It is the most important meal of the year. Each meal has a special meaning and wish for the new year. Osechi Ryori consist of a small colorful dishes packed in a special box called jubako. Usually it has 2 or 3 layers of boxes (ojubako). The whole family will share each ojubako.
The tradition is going back to the Heian period (794-1185) when people for offering food to the Gods on sechinichi (day of the season changing). Over the years tradition spread and since Edo period (1603-1868) it become very popular to eat special food on the first days of the year.
Some of the most food meanings:
Multi-layer boxes represent heath and wealth.
Black beans mean health
Herring roe means to have many children in a new year
Fish cake means good luck
Sweet dumplings that are made from the chestnuts mean financial prosperity