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Setsubun (節分)

Setsubun means:"Seasonal division" in Japanese. This event occurs on February 3rd this year and it is calculated with Old Japanese Calendar, (years start on second new moon after winter solstice.), it is the day before the beginning of Spring. This tradition is practiced all over Japan and it supposed to drive away bad fortune and evil spirits from the previous year. (Picture source: the old Japanese calendar called 旧暦 kyūreki or 陰暦 inreki.)

The main ritual is mamenaki (まめなき): scattering of beans, Fukumame (福豆) fortune roasted soybeans are used and thrown at temples, at home, in front of the entrance and/or on someone to give good fortune. It is often shouted: "Devils out! Fortune in!" (鬼は外! 福は内!, Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!

(Picture source: Japanese Times)

There are actually four setsubun but the most important is the one associated with the New Year as you can imagine. It is also important to note that with seasons change, people are their most vulnerable to influenza, colds, or other ailments. During the event, it is also a ritual to eat beans to increase immunity against pathogens.

In Oriental medicine, beans are known to be a source of proteins and increase the Qi or KI: physical energy.

People also eat Eho-maki sushi rolls and it supposes to bring good fortune as well. 2022 is the year of the water tiger (water is an element of the Wuxing principles) so the direction corresponding is West.

In order to bring good fortune, it is important to eat the sushi facing West.

(Picture source:

Morihei Ueshiba, O'Sensei, the founder of Aikido used to say that Aikido is a martial art to purify the mind and the body. Misogi(禊) in Japanese, is the art of purifying the entire body.

I think we all know that exercising is good for the body and there are countless medical studies and recommendation showing that it is healthy to exercise at least one hour a day.

As Spring coming, it is a time to review, to reassess our health and to create new goals for this new year cycle. Create new and better habits! Be healthy and stay healthy!

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