Setsubun ‘Devils out, happiness in’

Hello fellow readers, have you ever heard of Setsubun?

This is my first time celebrating the Setsubun festival in Japan and I felt so excited because my language school sensei had brought us (the foreign students) to the shrine to experience this special traditional event.

Setsubun is actually one of the traditional Japanese festivals held on the 3rd or 4th of February (one day before the start of spring according to the Japanese lunar calendar).

The name Setsubun(節分) literally means ‘seasonal division’ and sometimes people will called it Risshun(立春) because it is associated with the Lunar New Year.

The tradition of the Setsubun celebration began many centuries ago and although it is not a national holiday, people will still celebrate this traditional festival.

How do Japanese celebrate Setsubun?

During Setsubun day, Japananese  perform special rituals with the purpose of chasing away evil spirits of the former year at the start of spring. And the following two rituals are the most common.

Ritual no 1:

 Mamemaki (Bean scattering)

This is the most common Setsubun ritual, throwing roasted beans around one’s house/ temples/ shrines. 

IMG_9181_meitu_3Akasaka Hie Jinja shrine is one of the shrines in Tokyo where you can experience the Mamemaki.

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As mentioned, although it is not a national holiday, the crowd was….
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Everyone is putting their hands up to catch the lucky roasted beans ( ^▽^)σ)~O~)
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Wow the crowd was crazy!

By throwing the roasted beans, the evil spirits and the seeds of misfortune will be driven away and this will bring good fortune and luck to the family.

When throwing the beans, you are supposed to shout ‘Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!’ which means ‘Devils out, happiness in’.

After that, you should pick up the beans and eat the number of beans which corresponds to your age.

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Look!!! I’m lucky enough to catch these roasted beans (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ HOORAY!
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I am gonna eat all these roasted beans tonight ! Just joking! I will only eat the amount that corresponds to my age (▰˘◡˘▰)

The most interesting part about Mamemaki is that in households across Japan, some of the parents will put on an oni (demon) mask to scare the kids. The kids will then throw beans at them to scare them away!

I think this cool ritual can only be found in  Japan ★~(◡﹏◕✿)

FullSizeRender_1Maybe I should get ready some roasted beans to throw at home ^o^ LOL

Ritual no 2:

Ehoumaki (Lucky direction roll)

Ehoumaki (恵方巻き) means ‘lucky direction roll’. It is a special kind of sushi roll.

The name of it comes from the tradition of eating it facing the Ehou (the lucky direction).

The lucky direction for Setsubun is different for each year.

And this year (2016), the Ehou is South-South-East. (Get ready your compass! hehe)

Japanese believe that your dream will come true if on the evening of Setsubun you are able to eat the entire Ehoumaki sushi roll while facing the year’s direction (South-South-East).

And most importantly, when eating the sushi roll, you must concentrate on what you want to accomplish after this spring, and do not talk until you have finished!

Besides, good fortune will be rolled in. Hence, do not cut the sushi roll with knife, because  cutting the roll will cut off the good human relations. Eat the whole roll in one piece!

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Ehoumaki is being sold at every convenience store
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Ehoumaki~ Remember to keep silent when you eat this roll!

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Oh besides the sushi roll, I found this cute ‘oni’ demon bread too (ミ ̄ー ̄ミ)

That is all about Setsubun! I hope you enjoyed reading and enjoy celebrating Setsubun!

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