On the 3rd of February, we have the day of “Setsubun” (seasonal division) in Japan.
Setsubun has been an important time-honored rite to welcome the New Year by banishing evils and keep the house from calamity.
On the day, people threw beans to banish demons who cause various evil things and plagues. The beans used in “Mame-maki” (bean throwing) are parched and edible. It is believed that one can maintain good health throughout the year by eating the same number of thrown beans as one’s age. And they shout, in principle, “In with good fortune! Out with the demon!”
At the same time, we eat “Eho-maki”, sushi roll containing 7 ingredients associated with the Seven Deities of Good Fortune “Shichi-fukujin”, facing the direction of Eho that is most lucky for the year as determined by the Way of Yin and Yang. (I use more than 7 ingredients! :-D)
It is also customary to eat Eho-maki while making a wish in the mind with the eyes closed and without uttering a single word. You will eat the whole roll at a stroke in order not to lose ties. In 2020, the happy direction is West southwest.
It’s also good to drink a hot water with either pickled plum, salted kelp and toasted soy beans.
This year, my husband and my son visited the local shrine to join the Setsubun event. They caught a special gifts. Wow!