Setsubun: the Birth of Spring on February 3

The Japanese may have switched to the Gregorian calendar in 1873 during the Meiji Restoration, but they still observe the seasonality of the Lunar calendar. One such observance is Setsubun, which occurs on February 3. While Oshogatsu, or the Japanese New Year holiday, takes place on January 1 and 2, still look to Setsubun as a New Year “cleansing,” in alignment with the Lunar New … Continue reading Setsubun: the Birth of Spring on February 3
Setsubun, spring, lunar calendar, Japan, NYC, Japanese customs, Japanese traditions, oni, good fortune, luck, makimame

Setsubun Marks the Coming of Spring

After last week’s below-freezing temperatures, New Yorkers are cheering that the next couple of days are in the 50s. Luckily, spring is almost here, and I don’t mean March 20, as the Gregorian calendar dictates. The lunar calendar, which Japan followed until the Meiji government made the switch while it was modernizing in 1873, puts the start date of spring six weeks earlier. In East Wind … Continue reading Setsubun Marks the Coming of Spring