Have you ever joined any Setsubun (節分, the day before the New Year’s Day on the luna calender) ceremonies? As for me, I enjoyed Mamemaki (bean throwing) with my family this year again!
Today’s topic is Kesobumi-uri (懸想文, an old term for love letters. 売り, to sell something) at Suga shrine (須賀神社) in the Sakyo (左京) ward of Kyoto. If you are seeking your soulmate, please try visit the shrine!
Only during the Setsubun period, mysterious looking men in the Heian (平安) era costumes with Eboshi (烏帽子) hats can be found at this shrine. They are called Kesobumi-uri (懸想文売り, love talisman seller) and their faces are half-masked with a white scarf.
The origin of this interesting custom dates back to the Heian period, where some middle-ranked noblemen ghostwrote and delivered love letters for others. In the history of Setsubun ceremony, the love letters turned into talismans of love, and the ghost writers became the talisman sellers. The white masks were the remains of the practice of hiding their faces.
If you purchase a Kesobumi, please do not forget to put it in your closet discreetly. They say you will find the soulmate of your life.
Please visit Suga shrine in YUMEYAKATA Kimono and try Kesobumi!
Kyoto Expert Certification 1st Grade
Open: all year round
5 mins. on foot from Kumano Jinja, Kyoto City bus