Azuki is a small reddish brown bean originated in East Asia. It is also eaten in China and South Korea. In Japan it is used for “Sekihan”, and sweetened Azuki bean paste as an ingredient of Japanese traditional confectionery. Azuki is nutritionally balanced with high in protein, vitamins (B1, B2), potassium, phosphorus, Iron and fiber supports your energy and health every day.
Custom of eating Azuki
There has been a custom of eating Azuki beans through the ages.
Azuki beans have been used in religious rites since old time due to linkage between its red color and a charm against evil influence.
Japanese annual events and Azuki
January 11th : Kagami-Biraki
A ceremony, which you wish family harmony while eating the Zoni-soup or Zenzai with Kagami-Mochi (Mochi offered at New Year).
January 15th : Ko-Shogatsu
In the morning of the Ko-Shogatsu, you pray for a bountiful harvest and eat rice porridge with Azuki beans.
March 3rd : Hina-Matsuri (Girl’s Day)
A seasonal festival for girls, by displaying special dolls they pray for the girl’s growth (health) and eat traditional dishes such as Sakura-Mochi (sweet pink-colored glutinous rice stuffed with sweetened Azuki bean paste and wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf) for celebration.
around March 21st : Ohigan (Spring)
The length of night and day becomes equal. You offer Bota-Mochi (sweetened Azuki bean paste around a ball of glutinous rice) on the tomb and remember the ancestors.
May 5th : Children’s Day (Boy’s Day)
A seasonal festival of boys while displaying special dolls, putting up carp shaped streamers and taking a sweet flag bath. It is a traditional custom to eat Chimaki (Mochi wrapped in bamboo leaves), and Kashiwa-Mochi (Mochi stuffed with sweetened Azuki bean paste and wrapped in oak leaves).
June 16th : Day of Wagashi
A traditional custom since Heian period (about 9th century), which you hope for health, fortune and escaping evil while eating Wagashi (Japanese traditional confectionery).
about August 13th-16th : Obon
Family and relatives gather and hold a memorial service and remember the deceased while offering Bota-Mochi and some seasonal fruits and vegetables.
around September 18th : Otsukimi
In mid-autumn, on the 15th of August of the Chinese calendar, a full moon will appear.
By seeing the moon, it is said to being good fortune. We pray and thank for a bountiful harvest in autumn while offering Tsukimi-Dango (small Mochi ball).
around September 23rd : Ohigan (Autumn)
The length of night and day becomes equal. You offer Ohagi on the tomb and remember the deceased (ancestors).
November 15th : Shichi-Go-San
A ceremony, which you thank the growth and pray for the health of three-year-old boys and girls, five-year-old boys and seven-year-old girls. You celebrate with Chitose-Ame (a long special candy) and Sekihan.
around December 22nd : Tohji
The shortest day and longest night of the year
It is said you will not catch a cold if you take a Yuzu bath and eat pumpkin and rice porridge with Azuki beans.
Anniversary related to Azuki
(registered at Japan Anniversary Association in 2007)
July 1st : Imuraya “Azuki bar” Day
At the beginning of the full-blown summer, let’s have “Azuki bar” with plenty of nutrition and survive the hot season.
Every 1st day : Azuki Day
In Japan, there has been a custom of eating Azuki beans on the 1st day of the lunar month and on the 15th day of the full moon (according to the Chinese calendar). As the custom and the ancestor’s wisdom, IMURAYA GROUP CO., LTD. applied to Japan Anniversary Association for every first day as “Azuki Day”, wishing to eat Azuki with valuable nutrients for health and the anniversary was registered in 2007.