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Setsubun: A Spring Celebration

Setsubun Festival
Setsubun Festival, with the day Risshun (The Arrival of Spring), celebrates the change from winter to spring on the traditional Japanese calendar (earlier than the Gregorian calendar). Celebrations from February 2nd - 4th include local festivals to attend, lucky foods to eat, and other unique traditions throughout Japan.

88 days before the first tea harvest
In the world of Japanese tea, Setsubun has another significance. Traditionally, the tea harvest starts 88 days after Risshun, since the number 88 is considered lucky. So, when Setsubun comes, we start counting the days until the new tea harvest, and our excitement slowly starts to build. As a side note, we are excited to release spring-limited matcha Nodoka around this date, again to match the traditional start of spring.

Our Kyoto Main Store

A celebration of spring
At local shrines near our original location in Kyoto, there are large Setsubun Festivals on around February 3rd. Street stalls sell lucky foods like charcoal-grilled sardines, roasted soybeans, and other festival fares. People pay their respects at the shrine, eat and drink, and gather around a bonfire.

Back at home, Setsubun is celebrated with a fun tradition. Donning a demon mask, a male family member will stomp around the house, while the others chuck lucky soybeans at him, chanting, "Devils get out; luck stay in!" Since Setsubun is thought to be the time of the year when spirits travel closest to the human realm, this tradition developed to send the mischievous demons out of the home.


Food Pairing Notes: Roasted Soybeans with Mugicha

Food Pairing Notes: Roasted Soybeans with Mugicha
After everyone is tired from throwing beans at demons, it is customary to sit down together, eat some roasted soybeans good luck, and enjoy a little tea and other snacks. Mugicha (caffeine-free, roasted barley tea) is a favorite for drinking at home in the evening, brewed in a large teapot to have enough for seconds and thirds. And, its aromatic character goes great with lucky soybeans (or other nuts!).

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Though it might still be cold outside for a month or more, we gather this week with family to stay warm together and to look forward to the coming spring.



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