Setsubun on February 3rd

setsubun scatter beans mamemaki ehomaki

Scatter roasted soybeans in Setsubun!?

Setsubun on February 3rd is the eve of the first day of the spring in Japan. Originally, Setsubun was the four days which were eve the first day of four seasons. The eve of the first day of spring was especially honoured among them because it is the beginning of the year. Speaking of Setusubun, it is in spring before Japanese were aware of it.

Many Japanese enjoy Mamemaki on this day. Mamemaki is the bean-scattering ceremony that Japanese scatter roasted soybeans inside and outside their homes with shouting "Fortune in, devils out". The origin of it is that people slayed the ogre with throwing beans according to advice of Vaisravana who was the guardian and war god of Buddhism.


Toshiotoko who is a man whose eto zodiac is the same as that of the the current year or the master of the house did Mamemaki in the past, but all members of family do it nowadays. It is said that people who eat beans equal to one's age will keep one 's health for a year. They in some region do it with peanut because of easying to clean after doing it.

There are many Mamemaki event all over the Japan. Over 10,000 people go Mamemaki of Ikegami-Honmonji temple in Tokyo since several celebrities of Japan throw beans. This temple is famous as burial ground of Rikidozan who was father of Professional wrestling of Japan. Mamemaki of Gokokuji temple in Bukyo Ward of Tokyo is also popular because sumo wrestlers who belong Tokitsukaze sumo stable apper and thorow beans.


In addition, many Japanese eat Ehomaki on this day to pray for good health and thriving business. Ehomaki is a sushi roll consitng seven kinds of ingredinets associated with the Seven Gods of Good Fortune. Major seven ingredinets are dried gourd, cucumber, eel, omlet, pink fish floss and shiitake mashroom. However, Ehomaki has various ingredinets nowadays.

There is a certain manner to eat it. People search lucky dirertion of the year, and eat it while wishing at one stretch without a rest toward lucky direction. They should do it without saying and looking then. From the viewpoint of someone don't know Ehomaki, that is a currious and strange event. Some Japanese eat it normally with enjoying tastes.

ehomaki sushi roll

By the way, this custom was popular only in the west of Japan. Seven Eleven which is one of the major convenience stores sold it all over Japan in 1998, it extended throughout the entire Japan. Most grocery stores and convenience stores sell it on Setsubun now, and sell various Ehomaki including steak, salmon, foie gras, abalone, crab, shark fin and more.

You can experience Japanese culture through Setsubun if you travel Japan on February 3rd.