Thursday, January 24, 2013

Setsubun no Uta

蛇と川 (へびとかわ)
この前の雪 (このまえのゆき)
鶯の歌 (うぐいすのうた)

豆投げる (まめなげる)
幸運招く (こううんまねく)
鬼捨てる (おにすてる)

南々東見ます (なんなんとうみます)


Hebi to Kawa
Konomae no Yuki
Uguisu no Uta

Mame Nageru
Kouun Maneku
Oni Suteru

Nannantou Mimasu
Eho-Maki Taberu


Snake and River
The Last Snowfall
The Song of a Bush Warbler

Throwing Beans
Inviting Good Luck
Casting out the Evil Spirits

I Face the South-Southeast
Eating Uncut Sushi


The snake is a reference to this year; year of the snake, 2013. The river is a body of water, and this year's feng shui element is water. The last snowfall is a sign that winter is ending. The song of the Japanese Bush Warbler is heard often around early spring (beginning around Setsubun).

Throwing beans, inviting good luck, tossing the oni out. This is a major theme for Setsubun. Spring is the season for planting crops, and Setsubun marks the first day of spring (though it still feels like winter in most of Japan until mid-spring). Prayers for good harvest are common as is the practice of Mamemaki (throwing roasted soya beans to drive away evil spirits, either tossing them out the front door, or at a family member who is wearing an Oni mask).

This being the year of the water snake, the lucky direction is South-Southeast. So we look South-Southeast while eating Eho-Maki (uncut sushi roll) in silence. This promotes good luck in the coming year.Aside from being a spring festival, Setsubun is also a sort of New Year's Eve for the Lunar calendar.