Jinjitsu Date in the current year: January 7, 2018

Jinjitsu Jinjitsu, also known as Nanakusa no sekku (Feast of Seven Herbs), is one of the five seasonal festivals (gosekku) in Japan. It is associated with the custom of eating rice porridge seasoned with seven edible wild herbs to ward off evils spirits and ensure good health.

There are five seasonal festivals (sekku or gosekku) in Japan. They originated from Chinese practices and were traditionally held at the Japanese imperial court. One of them (Kodomo no hi/Children’s Day) is now a public holiday, three are widely celebrated unofficially, and Kiku no sekku (September 9) has been almost forgotten.

Jinjutsu was originally celebrated on the 7th day of the first lunar month, but when Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar during the Meiji period, it was moved to January 7. Today, this holiday is considered part of the New Year celebrations. Its main attribute is the nanakusa, seven herbs that are believed to bring good health. Traditionally, they are Chinese celery, shepherd’s purse, cudweed, chickweed, nipplewort, turnip, and daikon radish. However, in some regions other herbs are used.

It is widely believed that rice porridge with seven lucky herbs brings health and longevity, as well as protects from evil spirits. Besides, the dish is easy on the stomach and helps to calm the digestive system after several days of New Year’s feasts.

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Jinjitsu, Feast of Seven Herbs, Nanakusa no sekku, Japanese holidays, traditional holidays, cultural observances