Japan has distinctive season and it is engraved in our daily life and cultural events. Beginning of seasons is supposedly set on a calendar day and on the first day of season, often traditional ceremony held.
Since, seasons calendar uses Chinese calendar, this year’s beginning of spring was on February 5th. The day before spring is called setsubun and many events is held in each household.
Most common event is Mamemaki, an event scattering roasted soy beans to drive demons away. People hurl roasted osybeans around the entrance and room of their homes, shouting “in with fortune! Out with Evil” (おにはそと、ふくはうち). Soy beans are believed to hold a vigorous and charm against evil. After scattering soy beans, we eat same number of soy as your age to stay healthy.
Other practice during setsubun includes fukucha and ehou-maki.
Fukucha is a tea with kombu seaweed, soy beans, and pickled plum. Soy beans are for hard working, plums are traditionally used for auspicious occasions. This drink is originated from old tales that a monk saved people’s lives with it.
These scattering soy beans and drinking tea has been done for hundred of years, but ehou-maki started fairly recent. It is custom to eat sushi roll facing the direction of the year without talking. Direction changes every year and this year it was south-south east. To receive full luck, people have to eat the rolls with few bites and without talking.
Japanese people prepare for coming spring. It may be already a spring on a calendar, but it still is cold out there with snow storms. Keep your healthy living and auspicious meaning with hot comfy tea and sushi rolls.