The winter solstice falls on Dec. 22 (Fri.). In Japan, people eat pumpkins and take yuzu (citron) baths to avoid catching colds in the coming winter.
It is customary to clean house by Omisoka, the day before New Year’s, and to have family members gather for a feast and toshikoshi soba (buck- wheat noodles) on Omisoka. Since buckwheat noodles are easy to cut, people used to eat toshikoshi soba as a way to "break from the year’s bad luck." Today, soba is also eaten to wish for longevity because it’s long.