Thursday, February 6, 2014

Japanese lifestyle ~73~ Ehoumaki and Setsubun

February 3 was "Setsubun 節分".
In Japan, we have a special tradition on that day.

  Have you ever heard of "Oni"? That's like a demon character in Japan.
It is like a witch in Europe, maybe. (I'm not exactly sure what kind of image
people have in the witch.)
  In Japanese culture, Oni is described as a demon that eats human, and
does bad things, such as damaging the crops.

  In Setsubun, a man disguises himself as the Oni, wearing a mask of Oni.
People throw beans(豆) to the person, crying out "Oni is outside!!".
  The oni runs away and goes outside of the house.

  After you drive out the Oni, you can eat as many beans as your age.

  And also, there are other customs on that day.
  You decorate a branch of a holly at your entrance door like below.
  The stuffs at the top of the branch are  heads of sardines.
This stuff has the meaning of protecting people from evil.

  You eat Ehoumaki(恵方巻き) on this day. Ehoumaki is just like a sushi.

  There is a strange custom on eating Ehoumaki.
You have to eat this Ehoumaki in the certain direction.
I mean, you had to eat Ehoumaki, facing in the direction of east-northeast in this year.
The direction you  had to face depends of the year.
  I guess this custom has been made by the sushi industry as a campaign.

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