Feb 3: What is Setsubun ?

Hi Japanese Foodies!

So as you know food is a big part of Japanese culture.
On Feb 3 “Setsubun” we celebrate we celebrate the beginning of Spring!

These are several things you should know about Setsubun.


Mamemaki is a ritual we do every year.
Roasted soybeans called “fortune beans” are thrown either out the door or at a member of the family wearing an Oni (demon or ogre) mask, while the people say
“Demons out! Luck in!” (鬼は外! 福は内! Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!)

This is still common practice in households
but many people will attend a shrine or temple’s spring festival where this is done.

The beans are thought to symbolically purify the home by driving away the evil spirits that bring misfortune and bad health with them.
Then, as part of bringing luck in, it is customary to eat roasted soybeans,
one for each year of one’s life, and in some areas,
one for each year of one’s life plus one more for bringing good luck for the year to come.
(From Wikipedia)

I remember as a kid throwing the beans was so fun,
my parents had to hide a bag from me so we had enough left to eat.


Ehomaki is a sushi roll we eat on Setsubun.
It includes seven ingredients that is considered lucky,
like kanpyo, egg, eel, shiitake mushroom.
There is seven rules on how to eat the roll.

1. We eat while facing the direction considered to be auspicious that year.
2. We pray while you eat.
3. We can’t speak while we eat.
4. We have to eat it at once.
5. We have to eat the whole roll
6. We have to smile while we eat.
7. We have to eat it at night.

All these rules have each own reasons,
to bring in the luck.

Now you know what to eat for dinner this Saturday!


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