季節をめぐる【立春の習わし】

Exploring the seasons [New spring customs]

The arrival of spring.

Risshun is the beginning of spring, as well as the first of the 24 solar terms .

It was also the ``New Year'' as it marks the beginning of a new year . This day serves as the starting point for Setsubun and other festivals such as ``88 nights,'' ``210 days,'' and ``220 days.''

"The Day of the Beginning" - The first day of spring and New Year's Day of the lunar calendar

Many people think of the first day of spring as the ``New Year'' according to the lunar calendar, but it is actually a day based on a different calendar.

The 24 solar terms are expressed based on the movement of the sun , and are announced every year by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. On the other hand, the ``lunar calendar'' uses the ``lunisolar calendar'' based on the movement of the moon . Because the movements of the sun and the moon are not the same, the New Year has traditionally been celebrated on the same day only once every few decades.

Once every few decades, the year in which the new year is celebrated on the same day as the first day of spring and the lunar calendar is called ` `sakutanrisshun'' or ``first spring new year.''

Even now, there are many countries where the culture of celebrating the Lunar New Year on New Year's Day according to the lunar calendar remains. Such traditions persist in many Asian countries, including China's Spring Festival, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The second day marks the beginning of the year and the beginning of spring, and traditional celebrations are held all over the world.

In Europe and America, there is a tradition of celebrating the first day of spring as ``the day when Christ visited the temple with the Virgin Mary, 40 days after his birth,'' and burning a Christmas tree to mark the end of the Christmas season. In addition, there are many events and cultures that celebrate the arrival of spring, and February is known around the world as a month with many festivals.

Japan is unusual in Asia and does not particularly celebrate the Lunar New Year or the first day of spring. However, in the days when the Lunar New Year was considered a new year, the first day of spring and the first day of spring were close to each other, so there were terms such as ``Welcoming Chun,'' ``Early Spring,'' and ``Shinshun.'' Even in modern times, when the new calendar was coined and the new calendar was adopted, there are still traces of writing ``New Year'' and ``Welcoming Spring'' on New Year's cards.

In addition, as mentioned above, the 24 solar terms are considered important as announced by the National Astronomical Observatory every year, and even in Japan (although it is not a holiday), the ``beginning of spring'' is celebrated in many parts of the country. Shrines hold spring festivals and other auspicious events.

Now, let's take a look at the customs of the first day of spring!

1. Paste "Daikichi of Spring" on the entrance


Early in the morning of the first day of spring, which marks the beginning of a new year, there is a custom of pasting a talisman that wards off evil spirits with the words ``Risshun Daikichi'' written on the gate. "Risshun Daikichi" is symmetrical when written vertically, and can be read as "Risshun Daikichi" even when viewed from the back. In the unlikely event that a demon enters your house, the words ``Risshun Daikichi'' will be visible whether you look from outside or inside the house. Because of this, it is said that people would run outside, thinking they were still outside the house, and it is said that it came to be used as an amulet to ward off evil spirits. This is a very interesting idea when it comes to exorcising demons in customs.

Some shrines and temples distribute "Risshun Daikichi" amulets, but you can also make your own. Prepare a piece of paper and a pen, and write ``Daikichi of Spring'' vertically with all your heart, praying for good health, good luck, and warding off evil spirits.

2. Spring morning squeeze

Risshun Asashibori is a sake made to celebrate the first day of spring.Moromi is squeezed all night from the night of Setsubun, and the freshly squeezed unprocessed sake is bottled in the early morning of the first day of spring.The sake is then purified at a local shrine to pray for good health. This is a very auspicious drink.

3. Drink young water

Wakamizu refers to the first water of the year that is drawn from the well first thing in the morning on New Year's Day. Originally, it meant water offered to the emperor by the chief water officer on the first day of spring in the imperial court. Nowadays, it has become popular as a New Year's Day event.

Wakasui, the first water drawn in the year, is said to bring good health and good harvests.

4. Spring sweets

 

Japanese sweets made on the morning of the first day of spring are called ``Risshun Namagashi,'' and it is said to bring good luck if you eat all the sweets that day.

A typical type of Daifuku mochi is called "Risshun Daifuku." Mame Daifuku made with red beans and black beans is also popular. Red beans and mochi are said to have the effect of purifying evil spirits, and the round shape of mochi has the meaning of containing things in a circle, so it is often used for celebrations.

Other options include warbler mochi and sakura mochi, which have a seasonal feel. Neri-kiri and other sweets that express the changing seasons and the scenery of flowers, birds, scenery, and the moon are full of Japanese elegance and are perfect for celebrations.

◆Let's drink "Fukucha"◆

Also, to accompany Japanese sweets, we recommend fukucha, which is said to bring good fortune in the first day of spring.

You can easily make it using leftover roasted soybeans (fukumame) from Setsubun.

●How to make “Fukucha”●

Ingredients for fukucha (1 cup of hot water)

Fukumame... 3 grains (beans from the ground. Roasting them will make them more fragrant and delicious)

Salted kelp or kelp tsukudani...appropriate amount

Umeboshi...1 grain (keep the seeds)

Boiling water...180cc (you can also use green tea if you like)

5. Risshun tofu

 

It has long been said that eating tofu on Setsubun and the first day of spring brings good luck.

Tofu is made from the same soy beans that are scattered during Setsubun, and it is believed that soybeans are made from the same energy source as rice, so it is said to ward off illness and misfortune, and to gain strength by eating the beans. I was told that I could get it.
The white color of tofu is said to ward off various evil spirits when eaten on Setsubun, and when eaten on the first day of spring, it is called Risshun Daikichi tofu and is said to bring health into the body and bring happiness.

It is said that when eating on Setsubun and the first day of spring, it is best to eat the white color. Please use salt instead of soy sauce.

6.Eho-mairi


``Eho Mairi'' is said to be a good idea to visit shrines and temples in the direction of the eho of the year on the first day of spring.

Normally you don't make a wish at a shrine, but this is a special time when you can make one wish for the year.

▼Please see [Setsubun customs] for more information on eho.

◆Timing when your luck changes◆

Welcoming the first day of spring is the same as welcoming the new year.

In the modern lunar calendar, there is New Year's Eve to welcome New Year's Day, but there is Setsubun at the beginning of spring. This is also the time when your luck changes, so let's prepare our lives once again, use Setsubun to get rid of bad luck, and welcome the first day of spring.

①Clean your surroundings

Let's welcome the new year by cleaning up our surroundings, just like we do at the end of the year.

Get rid of the old stuff you've accumulated in your home, open the windows to freshen the air, and let fresh air into your home. In particular, be sure to thoroughly clean the entrance where evil spirits tend to enter, and arrange windows and balconies to improve ventilation.


② Learn new things

It is said that when your luck changes, good luck will come to you by incorporating new things. Please take this opportunity to update it according to your wishes. If you want to improve your financial luck, use a wallet. If you want to meet someone new, try something like a watch. Dishes and towels, not expensive items. Even consumable items such as lipstick are fine.

These descriptions are not part of New Year's customs, so this is a good luck method unique to the first day of spring.



③Start something new

It is said to be a good time to start something new, as it is an opportunity to reset and renew your past luck.
I want to start the new year with a feeling of change of pace and a fresh start.

④Eat seasonal foods

It is said that eating seasonal foods is very good for our bodies.
As the saying goes, ``Spring is bitter,'' eating bitter spring wild vegetables is an important element in eliminating waste products and fats that have accumulated in the body during the winter, and making the body suitable for the early spring climate. Masu.
The representative variety during the first spring season is ``Fukinoto''. The butterbur sprouts that emerge from the snow in early spring have a unique aroma and a refreshing bitter taste. Seasonal fish include whitefish, mackerel, and herring. Eat seasonal ingredients and enjoy the season to enrich your mind and body.

With the first day of spring, the 24 solar terms return to the first stage, and the 72 solar terms also return to the first stage.
The days are still cold, but I'm noticing that the sun is getting longer and I'm starting to feel the green Ibuki on the ground.

This year again, let's enjoy life, be grateful for the changing seasons, and celebrate spring.
I feel that adding variety to our lives through such [customs] is the wisdom of people that has been accumulated since ancient times.

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