Setsubun and Rishun; the New Year for the Natural Kingdom

Today, February 2nd, we have a festival called Setsubun because it is considered to be the new year’s eve for the natural kingdom.  We will have Rishun tomorrow and it is new year’s day. We also have the old new year in the lunar calendar on February 12th, which is the same as the Chinese new year. In Japan, except Okinawa, we stopped celebrating the old new year but we still have it in our lunar calendar.  Setsubun and Rishun are more common in the rest of Japan, and we usually throw roasted soybeans both inside the house and outside. We throw the beans outside to drive away Oni, demons and throw the beans inside to welcome happiness, on Setsubun. We say “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi!”

I feel that Rishun is a significant time for the Age of Air. The Age of Air began on December 21st or 22nd as a celestial event that is tied to the natural kingdom. January 1st is a day humans set based on the Gregorian calendar, but Rishun is the time when plants are awakening, and in many ways, it is more suitable as the new year. I will go Nordic walking tomorrow to celebrate the new beginning with the natural kingdom.


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