On February 4th, we celebrated Setsubun.
Setsubun (節分, Bean-Throwing Festival or Bean-Throwing Ceremony) is the day before the beginning of Spring in Japan (3rd, Feb) according to the Lunar calendar. The name literally means “seasonal division”. Well, it was far from feeling spring as we had a big snow fall on that evening…
The new year was felt to be a time when the spirit world became close to the physical world, thus the need to perform mamemaki (Throwing beans) to drive away any wandering spirits that might happen too close to one’s home. Roasted soybeans (called “fortune beans” (福豆 fuku mame)) are thrown either out the door or at a member of the family wearing an Oni (demon) mask, while the people say “Demons out! Luck in!” (鬼は外! 福は内! Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!).
It is customary now to eat uncut makizushi called Eho-Maki (恵方巻) (“lucky direction roll”) in silence on Setsubun while facing the yearly lucky compass direction, determined by the zodiac symbol of that year.
To make this lucky direction roll, you need seven stuffings to represent seven gods of happiness. This time, we used cooked Spinach, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and deep fried tofu cooked in soy sauce and dashi, prawns, strips of cucumbers and egg omlets, fresh organic salmon, avocado. My friend made this yummy grated carrot stuffing. She just stir fried it in rapeseed oil with a pinch of salt. She also swears by this as the great simple veggie dish for any fussy kids to eat.[singlepic id=47 w=320 h=240 float=][singlepic id=48 w=320 h=240 float=]We all had it facing North North West for this year and are promised luck with our business, longevity, and freedom from illness!
And of course, we threw beans madly at evil to hit the road. I forgot to take some photos of this funny moment… thanks to the man of this super stylish house for doing a roll of evil with an obscure chicken mask on. Since our effort to chase away bad spirits, it has become the super happy stylish house!