Setsubun marks the last day of winter


Setsubun literally means “division of seasons. It is used to mark the end of winter and summer,

and is derived from the old lunar calendar. However, “setsubun” has now come to mean the day

before the first day of spring only. It usually occurs around February 3rd.

On this day, in a custom called mame-maki, people throw and scatter roasted soy beans inside

and outside their houses while saying, “Getgoblins out of the house!

Invite happiness into the home!” Some people believe that mame comes from the word

mametsu which means drive away evil matter, inKanji.

Soy beans to let Oni go out and let hapiness come in to house

After throwing the beans, people customarily eat

one roasted soy bean,(豆 / mame) for each year of their age,

and pray for happiness throughout the year.

There is another reason why people roast and eat these beans;

It is said that the beancontains the evil of the previous year,

and so it is roasted to prevent evil fromsprouting.

People in some regions scatter peanuts and eat them,

because peanuts are easier to clean and pick up.

Some people eat rolled sushi, ehomaki, while facing the year’s “lucky” direction.

Eho-maki, the roll sushi for pray annual hapiness

Rolled sushi for the setsubun festival on February 3, eaten in the evening,

with closed eyes, in silence, one roll making a wish, facing the auspicious direction of the new year.

marukaburizushi 丸かぶりずし sushi eaten in one go

marukajiri まるかじり in the Kinki area.

ehoozushi 恵方寿司 Sushi for the auspicious direction

With seven auspicious ingredients for the seven gods of good luck:

oboro denbu (pink), egg roll or datemaki, cucumber, kanpyoo stripes,

Kooyadoofu, anago or eal, shiitake mushrooms.

All the good luck and good fortune is rolled up (maki) in this sushi.

A Chinese roll of this type is often made with eight ingredients, for the eight Chinese gods of good luck 八福神.

The fish in season

The buri feeds itself in the seas of the North and then swim down to the South fighting with the rough waves and finally,

the “buri” season begins with the advent of the winter. The yellowtail fishing reaches its peak at the time of cold waves.

Especially, the winter yellowtail (kanburi)’s meat is firm and plump. It is served as sashimi, teriyaki, shio-yaki (grilled with salt)

and the pot stew made of fish and vegetables which are some of the most delicious recipes.

yellowtail sushi