Setsusun and Ehomaki

Tomorrow Feburuary 3rd is Setsubun.

Setsubun is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan.

The name literally means “seasonal division”, but usually the term refers to the spring Setsubun, properly called Risshun celebrated yearly on February 3 as first day of spring.

Setsubun is also called Bean-Throwing Festival or Bean Throwing Ceremony.

Bean-Throwing Festival or Ceremony might sound crazy, but it’s really fun. We have been doing it since we were kids.

People throw roasted soy beans from our homes and temples around the country while shouting, “Demons out, good luck in”.

We also eat Ehomki on February 3rd, Setsubun day.

Ehoumaki is a type of Futomaki which itself is just a big sushi roll. So it is basically a Futomaki roll but has 7 fillings.

Because 7 is lucky number, right?

Japanese people eat in a certain way for good luck for the new year, on Setsubun, February 3rd.

Eating “Ehomaki” made for this day is a popular custom now. Actually the name ”Ehomaki” is a rather recent invention, and it was actually the convenience store chain 7-11 that started to call this sushi roll by the name Ehomaki. Before that, the sushi roll was not known as Ehomaki but as “Marukaburizushi”, a big, uncut sushi roll.

The Ehomaki tradition is said to have started in the geisha districts of Osaka in the Edo period. There are many theories on why the Ehomaki is a sushi roll, it is said a big roll can catch all the prosperity coming from the lucky direction, and that the black seaweed of the roll looks like a demon’s club, and by eating it you can drive off evil spirits.

How to Eat ”Ehomaki”

There are three rules on how to eat ”Ehomaki”.

First rule is that you have to face the ”Eho” direction (lucky direction ) of that year. It’s Southwest this year.

The second one is to eat the roll without saying anything.

You can’t laugh either.

If you speak before you finish eating the roll, you will lose all your good luck.

The sight of a family silently eating ”Ehomaki” all facing the same direction may seem very odd.

 

The third rule is that you should not cut the roll into smaller pieces, you have to eat it whole.

Please try to make your original Ehomaki with your friends and family and have healthy happy 2020!

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