In Japan, February 3rd is called “Setsubun” (節分) which is according to the lunar calendar, winter ends on this day or before the beginning of spring. On Setsubun, Japanese participate events to expel evil spirits and attract good fortune. One of the most common practice is” Mame maki” or “beam-throwing ceremony.” People shout “Oni wa soto” (鬼は外) or “Demons out” as they are throwing roasted soybeans from their front door toward outside, then shout “Fuku wa uchi” (福は内) , or Luck in!” as you are throwing the soybeans inside their houses. As part of bringing luck in, after “mame maki,” they eat the number of soybeans as their age plus one, wishing for bringing more good luck in the coming year.
But, nowadays, the soybean is not touted as the leading player in Setsubun. Instead, “Ehou maki” or a thick sushi roll became more popular than “mamemaki, “and it is eaten, while facing in the year’s auspicious direction which is south-southeast for this year.
This custom was practiced only in the kansai region. So, when I was working at a convenience store 20 years ago in Tokyo, I never knew about this. In 1998, Seven-Eleven started to sell Ehou maki around Japan. Now many people all over Japan eat “Ehou Maki.”
Why not you!!
We all can feel something good is going to happen in 2013.