On February 3rd, which is called “Setsubun” or the last day of winter in the traditional Japanese calendar, there is a tradition to eat “Ehomaki”.
1. What is Ehomaki?
Ehomaki is a long sushi roll composed of 7 ingredients which are considered to bring luck. The typical ingredients include kanpyo (dried gourd shavings), cucumber, shiitake mushroom, egg, eel and sakura denbu (mashed and seasoned fish).
The number 7 refers to the Shichifukujin or “Seven Deities of Good Fortune”, wishing for prosperous business and sound health.
2. The origin of Ehomaki
“Eho” means “lucky direction”, and “maki” means “roll”, and it is said to bring luck if you eat Ehomaki on February 3rd.
It was originally the tradition spread around Osaka, so people in Osaka eat Ehomaki more than people in Tokyo even today.
3. How to eat Ehomaki
People eat Ehomaki facing Eho (auspicious direction) of that year, and making their wishes while eating. It is also said that you should eat Ehomaki silently without talking, or you may not have the divine favor.
To get the happiness all at once, it is thought to be good to eat the whole Ehomaki without resting. It is also not good to cut Ehomaki, since the luck will escape from the cut end.
To wish good fortune, why not eat Ehomaki on February 3rd?