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Pound ‘Em: New Year’s Mochi Making

December 24, 2012, 1:06 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 7:06 PM
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There’s something otherworldly about the end of 2012 welcoming 2013 with a farewell kiss at midnight.

While it’s technically still Christmas, and some may still be shopping around for those last minute items, why not get a jump-start on plans for the almost-new year?

On December 27, the Donkey Mill Art Center in Holualoa is having a cultural flurry of New Year’s activities. There will be rice pounding and kadomatsu making.

Mochi pounding is a Japanese tradition where glutinous rice that has been soaked overnight is cooked then pounded smooth using a mallet and mortar. Have your luck rejuvenated while pounding mochi, as legend goes.

With continued strikes of the mallet, and a quick and nimble (not to mention heat resistant) hand to turn the steaming rice in the mortar, the pair creates smooth mochi.


The finished product can then be formed and filled with various pastes and beans, or left plain to be cooked again and dusted with sugar and kinako or soy flour.


Participants will also experience kadomatsu making. A kadomatsu is a traditional New Year’s decoration of Japan, which uses pine and bamboo.

Kadomatsu, image from wikimedia commons.


The bamboo are arranged to represent heaven, humanity and earth. The ‘earth’ component is the lowest and smallest piece of bamboo.

These decorations are placed at the front of the home to honor and welcome the spirits or deities that may grant blessings and/or good harvests.


Reserve your family’s place at this cultural sharing for $25. The day begins at 10 a.m. and ends around 1 p.m.

For more information visit www.donkeymillartcenter.org, or call 808-322-3362. The art center is located at 78-6670 Mamalahoa Highway in Holualoa.

If you miss this event, don’t fret. There’s another opportunity on December 29 to hit rice grains until they’re smooth at Hakalau’s 15th Annual Mochi Pounding at Akiko’s Bed and Breakfast on the Hamakua Coast.

Wake up early and join in the pyro lover’s activity of fire building at 6 a.m. Rice pounding begins at 8 a.m. and lasts until around 1 p.m.

Enjoy food, crafts, calligraphy, ikebana, or flower arranging, taiko drumming and more. Call 808-963-6422 for more information.

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