Ohagi and Botamochi are the Same Things or Different?
Centering on the spring and autumn equinoxes, Ohigan (お彼岸) takes place in Japan.
It is a traditional Buddhist event only held by the Japanese sects, during which we visit the graves of family and relatives and hold a memorial service for our ancestors.
Botamochi vs. Ohagi
When it comes to the food offered to the Buddha during the seven days event, Ohagi (おはぎ) and Botamochi (ぼたもち) are famous.
Both are Mochigashi (餅菓子) sweets, so their main ingredient is rice.
They are round, somewhat sticky rice cakes made by steaming and lightly pounding a mixture of glutinous and non-glutinous rice,
and sweet red bean paste called Anko (餡子) covers the plain rice dough.
Ohagi and Botamochi are the same stuff, but why do these confections have different names?
There are various theories, but the most popular one holds that the reason comes from the names of seasonal flowers.
Ohagi derives from Hagi (萩) or bush clover. O (お) in its name is a prefix to make a polite expression.
Since the bush clover blossoms in September, Ohagi is for the autumn Ohigan.
Meanwhile, Botamochi is short for Botanmochi, which is a compound word composed of Botan (牡丹), or peony in English, and Mochi (もち).
So Botamochi comes from the spring flower, Botan or peony, and it is for the spring Ohigan.