節分【Setsubun (the evening of the first day of spring)】

節分【Setsubun (the evening of the first day of spring)】

Setsubun is a traditional Japanese event which is carried out on the day before the first day of spring. This day currently falls on February 3rd or 4th. In Japan it is the custom to perform rites to exorcise evil spirits on Setsubun.

Scattering beans, called mamemaki in Japanese, is typical of such exorcisms. It is customary to throw beans, usually roasted soybeans, both indoors and outdoors while chanting “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” This means demons go away and good luck come in. This chant is made with the hope of repelling the demons and summoning good luck. It is said that people will be blessed with good health if they eat the same number of beans as their ages. In addition to scattering beans, people living in some areas in Japan stick the head of a grilled sardine on a branch and attach it at the entrance to their homes in order to repel the evil spirits.