This noodle dish is eaten on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck in the upcoming year. Because cooked soba breaks off easily, this custom seems to carry the meaning of “cutting off bad luck and omens from this year.”
New Year’s Eve, December 31
Since the last day of the month was traditionally called misoka, the last day of the year became Oomisoka, with the “oo” meaning big.
After a busy day of preparing for New Year’s Day and thoroughly cleaning the house, the final wrap-up involves eating toshikoshi soba.
Superstition says it’s bad luck to drag it into the new year, so most households finish the dish before the bell of New Year’s eve.