Setsubun / Bean Throwing Festival

Setsubun (Bean Throwing Festival or Bean Throwing Ceremony) is a festival in Japan held in the beginning of Spring every year. During this event, people in Japan perform traditional ritual believed to repel evil, disease, and bad luck along the year. Setsubun is observed on 3 February every year by Japanese people throughout Japan and outside the country.

When is Setsubun 2014?
Setsubun 2014 falls on Monday, 3 February 2014.

When is Setsubun 2015?
Setsubun 2015 falls on Tuesday, 3 February 2015.

The Origin of Setsubun
Formerly, Setsubun was celebrated on the day before the first day of each season. Literally, the name Setsubun also means “seasonal division”. Nowadays, people in Japan use the term only to describe the day before the beginning of Spring. In order to have good harvest, health, and luck, Japanese people hold a festival or ceremony on Setsubun day with the aim of driving evil spirit, disease, and bad luck away from their family.

Setsubun 2014 Celebration
Setsubun is not a public holiday in Japan, yet, the festive of this festival spreads throughout Japan. On this special day, Japanese family usually do mamemaki or bean throwing ceremony. All family members throw roasted soybeans called fuku mame (fortune bean) to one family member wearing Oni (demon) mask while yelling “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” which means “Demons out! Luck in!”. The beans are also thrown out the door in the hope that evil and bad luck will stay away from the family’s house.

To complete the tradition, Japanese family usually eat the roasted soybeans believed to bring good luck and health. In some areas of Japan, many family hang sardines impaled with hiiragi branch on the door at the dusk of Setsubun. This tradition is meant to prevent the demons get inside the house. Japanese people believe that demons are born on Setsubun day.

Happy Setsubun 2014 !
Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!