Happy New Year!
“Huh?”, I hear you ask.
Let me explain. February 3rd is Setsubun, literally “division of the seasons”. On the lunar calendar, this was the end of the kan – the coldest part of the year – and folklore holds that from now the weather will get warmer.* (For more information, see “24”)
New Year’s cards often have the word “risshun” (立春) – literally “rise of spring” – on them. This stems from the fact that, prior to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, Setsubun was the division between the old year and the new year. February 4th (or roughly there about) was the first day of the new year.
So, Happy New Year!
* Unfortunately, no-one has told the weather that it is supposed to be getting warmer. More cold weather – including fridge temperature maximums – and snow have been predicted for this week.