Spring Bean Throwing Festival in Japan

Setsubun Bean Throwing Festival is an extremely interesting traditional festival of the people of Japan, marking the first day of spring.

Jan 27, 2023 - 09:16
Feb 3, 2023 - 08:35
Spring Bean Throwing Festival in Japan

This is not an international festival day, but a major cultural event that is widely held at temples and throughout Japan every spring.

On this day, people often sprinkle beans to ward off evil spirits, this ritual is called Mamemaki. Because according to the Japanese concept, soybeans mean to ward off bad spirits and bad luck. In addition, people will eat soybeans corresponding to their age plus one to bring good luck in the new year.

Although Setsubun is not considered a national holiday, it is celebrated throughout Japan's temples and shrines and is attended by a large number of people. At temples and pagodas, people often invite celebrities and Sumo wrestlers to participate in the ceremony and be broadcast live across the country.

Setsubun, literally 'season change', is a festival held on February 3 or 4, the day before the start of spring according to the Japanese lunar calendar. The festival is rooted in the tsuina tradition, Setsubun is not only held at shrines and temples but also practiced in Japanese families. For centuries, Japanese people have performed rituals with the aim of warding off evil spirits when spring begins with Irimame.

Irimame is baked soybeans in Japanese, which will be sprinkled on a family member who will wear an Oni demon mask or can also be sprinkled on the door of the house. When sprinkled, the Japanese will say a mantra-like sentence "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi", which roughly translates to "Demon out! Good luck, please come in!” In their opinion, soybeans will help drive away bad spirits that bring bad luck to the homeowner. Then, people will eat peas to wish for good luck, each bean represents one year old, some regions eat one more bean with the hope that the new year will be filled with joy.

At dinner at the setsubun festival, Japanese people have the custom of eating Ehomaki, or Futomaki – the name of a very popular seaweed-rolled sushi, this custom appeared in Kansai since the Endo period. Especially on this day, people will not cut the futomaki into slices as usual, because they wish to have good luck. Futomaki is also one of the sophisticated dishes of Japanese cuisine.

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