Feb 3rd is Setsubun no Hi, the day preceding risshun which is the first day of spring according to the old Japanese calendar, or the so-called lunar calendar. On the day of Setsubun, there is the custom of throwing roasted soybeans while chanting “In with the Fortune! Out with the Evil!” in order to prevent evil ogres from entering one’s house. It is believed that the ogres are warded off by throwing beans, and that good fortune will then come to one’s home.
On this day, events with entertainers and athletes are held at shrines all over the country. Many people visit shrines and temples where they jostle about to catch some of the lucky beans thrown by priests and other dignitaries. Schools throw a small event for the children to experience Setsubun. People can also celebrate at home. In order to drive out the bad spirits from their houses, families throw beans at a monster, a role usually performed by the father of the family. According to Japanese tradition, if you eat the same number of beans as your age, you will enjoy a year of good health.
Source: The Japan Times, Japan National Tourism Organization | Photo courtesy: Joyce Ogasawara
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