Saturday, December 14, 8:30 am – 1:00 pm
It’s only a short while before it’s time to participate in Mochi-Tsuki at Chicago’s Midwest Buddhist Temple. Mochi-tsuki (餅突き) is the traditional making of rice cakes (mochi) through the pounding (tsuki, same as a punch or sword thrust in Aikido) of mochigome, a short-grain japonica glutinous rice. The event is held in preparation for the New Year’s Holiday, in order to provide mochi for consumption in ozoni (a soup to which mochi is added), kinako mochi (roasted mochi coated with sugar and kinako soy flour), or simply by itself. Traditionally, part of the mochi is reserved for an extra-large rice cake called kagami mochi which serves as a New Year decoration, and is broken and eaten during Kagami Biraki (lit. “mirror opening”) rituals to kick off the new year.
The pounding is done with large wooden mallets (kine) with steamed rice placed in a stone mortar (usu). Afterward the rice dough prepared is broken into small pieces which are molded into small cakes with or without the addition of red bean paste (anko) as filling. All stages of preparation involve multiple participants, traditionally with whole villages or extended family joining.
Festivities kick off at 8:30 am and are free and open to the public, and last until 1:00pm. Participants are asked to join in the pounding, as well as helping to clean up the temple afterward (lunch will be provided for those helping). Volunteers are also sought for setup on Friday, December 13 from 10:00am-12:00pm (lunch will be provided).
Midwest Buddhist Temple
435 W Menomonee St
Chicago, IL 60614