It is custom to eat eels (unagi), which especially rich in vitamin E,
on the day of Doyo-ushi to stay healthy and to help tide oneself over the heat wave.
Doyo is the period of 18 or 19 days before the beginning of spring (立春/risshun/around Feb.4), summer(立夏/rikka/around May 5),
autumn(立秋/risshuu/around August 7) and winter(立冬/rittou/around Nov.7).
So, "Doyo of winter" before the beginning of spring starts around January 17, "Doyo of spring" April 17,
"Doyo of summer" July 20 and "Doyo of autumn" October 20.
Today, it commonly refers to the doyo of summer which comes before the beginning of autumn and in the hottest period.
Ushi is a sign which refers the order of year, month, date and time,
as it is the 2nd of the twelve signs of the Chinese and Japanese zodiac cycle.
Depend on the year, we have the 2nd "Day of ushi".
From the old time, it has been said that eating something which started its name "u"
like udon (noodle) or uri (melon) or umeboshi (pickled plum), etc.is good for one's health.
And the custom to eat eels (unagi) on the day of doyo-ushi started in the middle late Edo period.
One owner of an eel restaurant consulted Hiraga Gennai about the dull running in summer.
He suggested him to put an advertisement at the door of the restaurant.
The catchphrase was "Today is the day of Doyo-ushi".
The word of Unagi (eel) is started from "u".
Since then, it became our habbit to eat eels on the day of Doyo-ushi.
|Flags||"う" eel letter|
|Hitsumabushi of Atsuta Horaiken/ あつた蓬莱軒|
|year||Doyo no iri
First day of Doyo period
last day of Doyo period
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