Enjoy “SETSUBUN”, Japanese Halloween!

伝統行事(でんとうぎょうじ): Traditional events

Japanese article is here; https://japaneselanguagesalonbymikapanda.com/enjoy-setsubun-425

“Lunar calendar” and “Solar term”

What is the “Lunar calendar”?

Hello, this is MIKA! It has been already February.

Today, it’s the new year’s day on the “Lunar calendar” which has been born in China.

It’s based on the moving of the moon, most Asian countries and areas have used it.

In Japan, we have used the “Solar calendar” since Meiji era, which pushed on the westernizing. However, until that time, we had used “Lunar calendar” too.

Then, there is the another old calendar come from China. It’s the “Solar term”.

What is the “Solar term”?

“Solar term” is based on the moving of the sun and separates each seasons into 6 term to make it easy to feel the changing of the seasons.

It’s said that the ancient Chinese emperor made it as the standard of an agriculture.

On the “Solar term”, fourth February, the day called “Rissyun” in Japanese is the beginning of a new year. That’s why third February is the new year’s eve on the “Solar term”.

Since the ancient days, we’ve thought that evil spirits appear to this world easily on the turning point of each seasons. So on the last day of each seasons, Imperial family and nobilitys had held the ceremony of the exorcism the Imperial Court.

That is the origin of “SETSUBUN” on third February!

What do we do on “SETSUBUN”, 3rd February?

It’s similar to “Halloween”

In fact, “SETSUBUN” is similar to “Halloween”.

“Halloween” is the day before first November, the holy day of ancient Celts, it’s also the new year’s day for them.

In that night, not only the spirits of ancestors but also devils, witches and stray spirits run rampant.

To protect themselves, people masquerade as evils.

Throw away soybeans to drive out evil spirits

Then, what will appear to this world in the night of “SETSUBUN”?

Yes, “ONI(鬼)” is coming!!

In the night of “SETSUBUN”, we throw away roasted soybeans as saying “ONI, go away!” to outside from the entrance or veranda to drive out “ONI”, which is the symbol of disasters.

And, to invite happiness for the family, we sprinkle roasted soybeans into our house as saying “Happiness, come to our home!”. After that, we eat soybeans as many as our ages.

The reason why we throw it away is that cereals have been considered to have the spiritual power to drive away and cleanse the impure of that place since ancient days.

About “ONI”, I introduce more on that article; https://japaneselanguagesalonbymikapanda.com/what-does-it-mean-oni-by-damon-slayer-188

Protect our home to decorate a holly with a head of a sardine

It seems a bit scary, but “Hiiragi-iwashi”, a holly with a head of a sardine has the effect to drive out “ONI”.

Because a holly has the power to keep off evils and prickles of its leaves can dig to the eyes of “ONI”.

Also it’s said “ONI” hates the smell of a sardine.

By these reasons, there is the habit to decorate it on the entrance. However, it goes out of fashion recently.

Make a wish by eating “Ehōmaki”

“Ehōmaki” is the special rolled sushi for “SETSUBUN”!

“Ehō” means the lucky direction because there is the Japanese holy spirit named “Toshitokujin” which preside over the happiness of that year.

That’s why it’s considered to be lucky to do something for that direction.

After all, “Ehōmaki” is the rolled sushi to eat as looking to “Ehō”, the lucky direction of that year.

By the way, there is the rule that never talk when you’re eating “Ehōmaki” until it’s finished.

And then, it’s believed that if you make a wish in your mind as eating without talking, you’ll get your wish.

“Ehō”, the lucky direction of this year is south‐southeast.

About its origon, there are various theories. But it’s said that habit has been started in Osaka.

How to cook “Ehōmaki”

Finally I’ll tell you how to cook “Ehōmaki”!

【The necessary foodstuffs】


・Vinegar for sushi

・Sea weed

・The foodstuffs inside “Ehōmaki” which you like…Sashimi, Ikura, Natto, grilled meat, cucumber, leaf of perilla, avocado, lettuce, tomato and so on

【The necessary cooking stuffs】

・Large bowl

・Shamoji or spatula

・Something to fan…Uchiwa, Sensu, Celluloid board or others

・Chopping board

・Makisu…Japanese cooking stuff to make a rolled sushi↓

Make a vinegared rice

First, cook a rice.

After that, put a rice into the large bowl, add a vinegar, and mix them with Shamoji or spatula as fanning with Uchiwa or something.

Sometimes do tasting while you mix them to control the amount of vinegar.

Put seaweed on Makisu

After making a vinegared rice, unroll Makisu on the chopping board to put a seaweed.

Spread a vinegared rice on the seaweed and put the stuffs

Put a vinegared rice on the seaweed and spread it thinly.

At that time, it’s important not to put a vinegared rice on the upper side of the seaweed for 2cm.

Roll up Sushi with Makisu

Roll it up slowly as pressing the stuffs not to drop them.

Grip it strongly to set

After rolling, grip it strongly to set like the picture.

It’s finished if it doesn’t break after unrolling Makisu.

Finally comment

How was it?

This time, I’ve introduced you the old calendars come from China and “SETSUBUN”.

“SETSUBUN” is third February on this year, but sometimes it’s second or fourth depends on the year. So be careful after you start to live in Japan.

Also “Ehō” is changing every year!

Most of Japanese traditional events are based on the ancient calendar, so it’s useful to understand them.

Finally, I hope you enjoy your “SETSUBUN” in Japan someday!