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.