Risshun Around the World: The Difference between Japanese Setsubun and Chinese and Western Shunsetsusetsu with English Examples

Mayumi Folio
Mayumi Folio

Risshun is the day on the calendar when the long winter ends and spring begins.

This day marks the beginning of the year in the lunar calendar, and Chinese and other Asian countries still celebrate the Chinese New Year with great enthusiasm.

On Setsubun day, the day before Risshun (the first day of spring), Japanese people hold a traditional event to drive away evil spirits by throwing beans and eating ehomaki (rice rolls).

There are also traditional celebrations of Risshun in Europe and the United States, and the arrival of spring is celebrated all over the world.

Thus, Risshun, the beginning of spring, has been celebrated around the world since ancient times.


What exactly is the lunar calendar? What is Risshun?

What is the origin of Setsubun? I want to explain about Setsubun in English!

What is Chinese New Year? What does it entail?

Do you celebrate Risshun in the West?

And the questions are numerous.

In this issue, we focus on Risshun around the world, Japanese Setsubun customs and Chinese Shunsetsusetsu.

And I will tell you about Risshun events in Europe and the United States!

Setsubun in Japan

What is the lunar calendar and the lunisolar calendar?

Since ancient times, Japan has used a lunar-solar lunar calendar.

The lunar-solar calendar is based on the lunar calendar, which is the calendar of the moon’s movement, and compensates for seasonal deviations by the 24 solar terms, which are the movements of the sun.

This is why the moon and the sun are deeply embedded in Japanese traditional events and daily life.

Until the Gregorian solar calendar was introduced to Japan during the Meiji era (1868-1912), the lunar-solar calendar was used for the lunar calendar in Japan.

The lunar-solar calendar literally means [calendar of the moon and the sun].

The lunar calendar is a calendar based on the phases of the moon.

Since the moon travels around the earth in 29.5 days, the lunar calendar had a “small month” with 29 days in a month, and a “large month” with 30 days.

However, in this lunar calendar, the year is 354 days instead of 365, creating a gap of 11 days each year between the solar calendar and the lunar calendar.

The 11-day shift each year means that sooner or later April will fall in autumn or New Year’s Day will fall in mid-summer.

This calendar makes life uncertain for farming and many other things.

Therefore, the lunar-solar calendar, the Japanese lunar calendar, was based on the lunar calendar, the movement of the moon, but incorporated the 24 solar terms, the movement of the sun, to compensate for seasonal deviations.

This becomes the solar-lunar calendar, the Japanese lunar calendar, and the Chinese calendar, the lunar calendar of the Greater China region.

In the 24 solar terms, the year is divided into 24 equal parts based on the movement of the sun, and the beginning of each season is called “Risshun,” “Risshatsu,” “Risshakyu,” and “Risshwinter.

And the day before is called “Setsubun,” from the meaning of “dividing the seasons.

Originally, the day before each of the four seasons was called “Setsubun,” but now only the day before Risshun is known as Setsubun day.

Origin of Setsubun and Mamemaki

The Japanese Lunar New Year is from the end of January to the beginning of February in the Gregorian calendar, which is currently the main calendar used around the world.

Lunar New Year’s Day falls on the day of the new moon closest to the day of Risshun, the beginning of spring in the 24 solar terms.

So where does Setsubun come from?

In the Heian period (794-1185), Tsuina Ceremony, a ceremony to drive away evil spirits for the year, was held on the lunar New Year’s Eve at court.

Tsuina Ceremony was a ceremony held on the New Year’s Eve of the lunar calendar, on the day of Setsubun, the first day of spring, to drive away demons that were thought to bring disasters and illnesses to the court, through prayers and exorcism by Yin-yang masters.

However, in the Edo period (1603-1867), Tsuina became popular throughout Japan as an event to pray for good health by scattering beans to ward off ogres, even the common people.

Then why sow beans?

This event was called the

Since ancient times, the Japanese have believed in the spirit of words and have had deep faith in the power that resides in words.

The word “devil’s eye” became “mame,” meaning “to destroy the demon’s eye,” and around the Muromachi period (1336-1573), beans were thrown to drive away evil spirits.

It was considered very unlucky if sprouts sprouted from the sown beans, so the beans were roasted and sown until they were blackened to prevent sprouting.

And “to fry beans” also means “to shoot the devil’s eye out,” and here again we can see the power of words and spirits.

In some areas of the snowy north and peanut mountainous regions, peanuts are sprinkled in addition to roasted soybeans.

Explanation in English of the correct way to throw beans

Soybeans that have been roasted the day before are placed in a square and offered to the altar.

Put roasted soybeans in a square and offer it to the gods the day before.

On the night of Setsubun, the ogres come between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., so soybeans are scattered at that time.

On the night of Setsubun, the demons come during the Hour of the Tiger from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm, so we sprinkle soybeans during this time.

Open the front door, windows, etc., and start throwing beans from the back room while shouting “Oni wa soto! and start throwing beans from the back room. Then beans are thrown.

Open the front door and windows, and start throwing beans from the back room, shouting “Oni wa soto!

After the beans have been scattered, immediately close the windows, etc., and scatter the beans inside the room while shouting “Fuku wa uchi! and throw the beans into the room.

When you have finished throwing the beans, close the windows immediately and throw the beans into the room, shouting “Fuku wa uchi! the room.

After the beans are sown, everyone in the family eats one bean for their age plus one bean, hoping to ward off bad luck for the year ahead.

After the beans have been thrown, everyone in the family eats their age plus one bean, hoping to ward off bad luck for the year.

Chinese New Year Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the Chinese New Year.

During the Chinese New Year, which is the first day of the lunar calendar, the number of foreign visitors from Asia to Japan increases sharply as it is a major holiday weekend.

Knowing more about the Chinese New Year is also important knowledge when entertaining Chinese and overseas Chinese guests during this time of year, as it will give you clues to knowing more about them.

Let’s take a look at this Chinese New Year.

What is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year is the lunar New Year in the Greater China region.

Since 1912, when the Gregorian calendar officially became the Chinese calendar upon the establishment of the Republic of China, January 1 of the Gregorian calendar has been the beginning of the new year.

However, the lunar New Year’s Day is still considered more important in China.

The date of the Chinese New Year is determined by the lunar calendar, which changes every year, and the average Chinese New Year holiday is one week, three days before and after the Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year is very similar to the Japanese New Year, with a big cleaning on New Year’s Eve and a special meal on New Year’s Eve night.

A typical example is the dumpling eaten in northern China.


Whether dumplings are eaten on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day varies from region to region, but in northern China, such as Beijing, a special New Year’s dish is to make dumplings with family members and eat them together.

A jujube, peanut, coin, etc. are placed inside to divine the year of the winner.

In the vast country of China, the New Year’s table scene varies from region to region, including spring rolls, noodles, fish, citrus fruits, rice cakes, dumplings filled with red bean paste, and more.

And many families watch TV programs like the Kohaku Uta Gassen with their families, making it an annual event.

The custom of ringing the bell on New Year’s Eve is also a part of Chinese New Year’s Eve, and like in Japan, the sound of the bell echoes through the air on New Year’s Eve.

On New Year’s Day, firecrackers are set off to welcome the New Year, which is said to ward off evil.

New Year’s gifts are also found in China, but the custom is to give money as a congratulatory gift, not only to children, but also to those who are superior to you.

Then there is the New Year’s visit to a temple in China, where people dress up in formal attire and greet relatives and friends, and, as in Japan, pay a New Year’s visit to a temple.

It is also a New Year’s custom to eat shiratama dumplings with warm red bean paste.

The year of the man of the year and the year of the woman of the year correspond to the year of bad luck in Japan, so it is an old custom for people of that year to “wear red clothes and not go outside for a week. This is an old custom.

Nowadays, “wearing red socks and underwear during Chinese New Year” has become the most popular method.

If you know someone who has a New Year man or woman in this year’s zodiac sign, they might appreciate a nice pair of red socks as a gift.

The Chinese New Year changes every year, but in recent years, the date of the Chinese New Year has been as follows.

– February 1, 2022

– January 22, 2023

– February 10, 2024

– January 29, 2025

– February 17, 2026

Three days before and after this day, for a total of one week, is the Chinese New Year holiday.

Even within China, migration during this time of year is massive, similar to the rush to return home during the Obon and New Year’s holidays in Japan.

So what is happening in other Asian countries besides China?

In fact, in most Asian countries other than Japan, New Year’s Day in the lunar calendar is still celebrated with great importance.

The Chinese calendar is still celebrated as a national holiday in Asian countries such as Singapore, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Macau, Indonesia, Myanmar, Brunei, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

As in China, there is a major holiday around the Chinese New Year, and the number of visitors to Japan explodes during this period.

Chinese tourists visiting Japan for Chinese New Year

Before the world was threatened by Corona, the Chinese New Year was a time when the number of Chinese tourists swelled all over the world.

The Chinese New Year vacations are not easy to travel this year due to the Corona Vortex, but the Chinese New Year will come again next year and the year after that.

After the Corona Vortex comes to an end and freedom is restored, an explosive rebound increase in Chinese travelers who have not been able to casually go abroad for the Chinese New Year vacations for the past several years is greatly anticipated.

Chinese New Year is like a major holiday in Japan, with many people applying for a week or so off, or even longer.

This Chinese New Year week-long vacation will be spent on a family trip to a nearby foreign country.

Japan is a popular tourist destination for many of these people.

Japan Tourism Statistics Data:

This is because it has become easier to buy low-cost airline tickets to Japan, the number of flights between China and Haneda and Narita has increased, and many direct flights are now available to and from regional airports throughout Japan.

Against this backdrop, Japan is a popular destination for long-term family trips during the Chinese New Year that Chinese people can easily visit.

Japan was chosen as the destination for an extended Chinese New Year vacation, bringing China much closer to Japan.

The “Bakubai” shopping by Chinese tourists, which became a hot topic for a while, is a phenomenon that is often seen during the Chinese New Year. Chinese tourists were seen buying Japanese products in large quantities at high-end Japanese department stores, cosmetics, daily necessities, and electronics stores.

However, the number of Chinese travelers buying explosives is said to be on the decline around the world.

The reasons for this are said to include the fact that Japanese products can now be easily purchased from anywhere in the world via the Internet, and that the Chinese economy is not as booming as it used to be, so even the wealthy have begun to curb their buying sprees.

On the other hand, however, there is also a growing interest among Chinese travelers in an experiential style of tourism known as “koto consumption.

The popularity of Japanese cultural experiences that can be enjoyed only in Japan has been rapidly increasing in recent years.

I have always wanted to go to Japan for the first time in a long time.

Especially during the important Chinese New Year period, the number of Chinese travelers seeking an experience a little higher than usual is expected to increase in the future.

In particular, participation in a traditional Japanese cultural experience can be recommended as a special day for Chinese New Year, as it adds the festivity to the New Year feeling they are looking for.

We offer a unique quality of Japanese cultural experience that is even more special and celebratory during the Chinese New Year.

This is because people are looking for a “special day” to enjoy Japan during their first Chinese New Year vacation in a long time. This is a more special occasion than the usual Chinese New Year trip, and the quality of the Japanese cultural experience will be more sought after than ever before.

This past article introduces Japanese cultural experiences recommended for such Chinese tourists.

How to entertain wealthy Chinese! Entertaining in simple Chinese

For wealthy foreigners! Special Experience Cases and Workshops

Transform yourself into a lady of the inner palace! Kimono experience to entertain wealthy foreigners

A real Kabuki experience! Entertainment of foreign VIPs and wealthy customers

Reference: Japan National Tourism Organization JNTO

Reference site Japan Tourism Agency, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

Risshun Celebration in Europe and America

Festival of the Candles Chandeleir

Even in the Christian world, Risshun is a celebration to welcome the important spring.

There is a celebration of the day when Christ, 40 days old, visited the Temple with the Virgin Mary.

And the day of Risshun was customary to burn the Christmas tree as the end of the Christmas season.

In European folk beliefs, the day of Risshun, which marks the beginning of spring, was cherished and celebrated with traditional events in many places.

The combination of European folk beliefs and the celebration of the 40th day of Christ’s birth has made Risshun a special day to celebrate the arrival of spring, even today.

Chandeleir In France, it is considered a day of candlelight and eating crepes.

The first crepe to be baked is offered to the fire gnome who lives in the kitchen, and is offered to the highest place in the kitchen.

From the second piece, holding the pan with the crepe on it in one hand and a piece of gold in the other hand, the crepe is turned over from the patriarch to the quasi-patriarch.

If you can turn it over cleanly, your luck is good for the year.

It is said.

In some areas, crocuses, daffodils, pansies, mimosas, and other flowers that remind people of the beginning of spring are displayed, and candles are lit on dinner tables, in gardens, and in flowerpots.

We will celebrate the arrival of spring with cider, an apple liquor, and galette for dinner and sweet crepes for dessert.

Groundhog Day

In the United States and Canada, Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2 to mark the arrival of spring.

Originally a German and Austrian event to divine the coming of spring by the movements of badgers on Candlestick Day, there are now many regions in the U.S. and Canada where it is held as a major event.

Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are munchkins that live in burrows similar to those of beavers.

On the morning of Risshun, the arrival of spring is divined by how the groundhog moves and whether or not it sees its own shadow when it awakens from hibernation.

In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, they pull the granddogs out of their burrows very early in the morning, do a fortune telling, and Fox broadcasts it live.

The tuxedo-clad gentleman and the sleepy-eyed woodchuck in all their seriousness are a somewhat funny sight, and the event has become a popular annual event.

Chinese New Year

New York, Paris, London, Berlin, etc…

Numerous overseas Chinese and Chinese immigrants live in the world’s great cities, which are considered the melting pot of races.

Chinese New Year is celebrated with great festivity in Chinatowns in various cities.

In addition to lion dances and firecrackers, there are many other events that allow people of Chinese descent to enjoy Chinese culture, making these days a precious time for people of Chinese descent to think back to their homeland and give their new children a cultural experience.

It is also an opportunity for people of other ethnic groups living there to experience and celebrate Chinese culture together to deepen their understanding.

Traditional events of other countries and cross-cultural experiences in a foreign country allow us to experience the joy and excitement in each other’s differences.

There is a large Chinatown in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, where a large Chinese New Year celebration is held each year.

In Sydney, Australia, a large festival is held every year and has become a typical annual event.

Sydney Lunar Festival

And at this time of year, people from other local cultures are also asked, “What is your zodiac sign for this year? and you will meet people who know more about their own zodiac signs and their partner’s zodiac signs and compatibility than you might think.

Whether it is making dumplings with Chinese friends and having a dumpling party or wearing red socks together, international students who do not return to China during this time also enjoy the Chinese New Year.

Asian foodstuffs are sold extensively at large supermarkets during the Asian Food Festival, and Chinese food is on the school lunch menus at children’s schools during the Chinese New Year, and everyone enjoys Asian culture.

When I tell people that Japan does not celebrate Chinese New Year in particular, they are very curious, so I find it very interesting to talk about Setsubun culture.

It is a very warm feeling to be able to respect and celebrate each other’s traditions.


Risshun, the first day of spring, when the cold winter finally ends and new buds begin to sprout.

The joy of spring has been celebrated in many parts of the world since ancient times.

The long and hard winter will one day come to an end and spring will surely arrive.

I would like to continue to celebrate Risshun, receiving such a message from the people of the past every year.