Posted by: Vanessa
yesterday I wrote about Setsubun, the bean-throwing Festival or bean-throwing Ceremony, which will take place on February 3rd.
But to throw beans around is not the only way, to catch a good fortune for the future for oneself.
So what is ehomaki?
Ehomaki are "lucky direction rolls" and thicker than normal sushi rolls.
You eat them on the night of Setsubun.
As you might guess, there are some special rules for making and eating ehomaki to really have a good fortune:
First it must contain seven ingredients: so to be related with the Seven Deities of Good Fortune called Shichifukujin, seven fillings are traditionally rolled in. For example, simmered shiitake mushrooms and kanpyo (dried gourd), cucumber, rolled omelet (tamagoyaki), eels, sakura denbu (sweet fish powder), and seasoned koyadofu (freeze-dried tofu) are used. These ingredients represent good health, happiness, and prosperity, and rolling the fillings means good fortune.
It must not be cut, because it might cut (off) your luck.
You have to eat it while facing the lucky direction (the eho), which changes every year - because the lucky direction depends on the zodiac symbol for the year.
For 2012 the lucky direction is North-North-West. So best to take a compass before eating. ^^
So what's the history behind the ehomaki?
Legend says when Toyotomi Hideyoshi was fighting for the rulership of Japan, one of his samurai, Horio Yoshiharu 堀尾 吉晴 ate a rolled sushi (makizushi) on the evening before the battle and then the warriors won the battle. So now it is eaten to bring good luck when driving out the demons of Setsubun.
Others say it comes from Osaka and the Kansai area, where rolled sushi was eaten hoping for prosperity in the coming year.
If you are visiting Japan and want to eat an ehomaki on February 3rd, you can buy them in convenience stores (but better to make a reservation for that in advance, because they could be sold out) or on sushi shops! ^^
Wish you a great setsubun! ^^
Sakura Hostel Asakusa
Address: 2-24-2 Asakusa Taito-ku, Tokyo
Posted by: Vanessa (January 31, 2012 1:49 PM) | Permalink