What is Eho-maki (Lucky Direction Sushi Roll) and why people eat it in silence on Setsubun (3 February) in Japan?
It’s Setsubun on 3 February each year in Japan.
“Setsubun (節分) is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan.” (From Wikipedia)
Setsubun is known for the special ritual called Mamemaki(bean throwing), but have you ever heard of Eho-maki?
It’s a sushi roll eaten facing that year’s Eho (lucky/good fortune direction) strangely in silence for good luck on Setsubun in Japan.
The Eho changes every year and the Eho for 2019 is east-northeast.
The following video “Lucky Eho Maki (Salmon Avocado Alasca Futomaki Sushi Roll) Recipe 福を呼ぶ恵方巻き レシピ” by ochikeron shows you how to make Eho-maki.
More about Eho-maki, ingredients and how to make directions can be found on the linked Youtube page.
I grew up in Hiroshima, and when I was little, I did Mamemaki (bean throwing and eating :)), but didn’t know about Eho-maki until I moved to Osaka for my university.
I was surprised (a bit shocked) when I first heard of the Eho-maki because a friend told me that her all family members would eat it in the same room, facing the same direction (the year’s Eho), in SILENCE!!!
Can you imagine that???
I think Eho-maki is now widely known regardless of the region in Japan.
Do you want to know how strange it is to eat Ehomaki in silence, and how it became widely known?
Check the following video How to Eat Eho-maki, Japan’s “Lucky Direction” Sushi Roll, and Get Rich! 恵方巻の正しい食べ方（英語版) by Japan Headlines.
I just also want to mention that Eho-maki food waste was on the news last year (2018).
‘Lucky direction’ sushi roll trend makes a wasteful winter’s end (THE ASAHI SHIMBUN on February 20, 2018)
I think it’s good to keep the tradition, but hope the food waste would be minimised this year.
Probably, one of the best solutions is to make your own Eho-maki as you need it!