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Japan Guide - Setsubun

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Setusbun - Throwing Beans At The Demon

Japanese Demon

There are many holidays, festivals, and annual events in Japan. Some are big events which the whole city gets involved in, and some are small, basically just for the family. There is at least one holiday, festival, or event every month, and in February the event is Setsubun the day before Risshun or the Spring Equinox. This is a great event for the whole family and the kids love it! Setsubun Beans
When is Setsubun? Ad Space

Setsubun is not a national holiday. It is held on February 3rd. Which is to mark the day before spring or Risshun using the Japanese lunar calendar. Setsubun is a holiday for chasing away the demons, or evil spirits. In modern day Japan it involves a Demon, a hand full of beans (mame). Fish heads, and a holy stick. Sound interesting? read on...

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How do I participate?

Usually the kids will draw up a demon mask on a piece of paper color it in. Then someone gets selected to wear the mask, while the rest of the family throws beans at the person where the Demon mask. When you throw the beans you are to shout"Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi" which translates something like "Demons out, Happiness(Fortune) in." Beans can be thrown out into the yards of your house, around temples, and around shrines. All with the same meaning " Demons out, Happiness(Fortune) in". In the older days and even in a few homes in modern Japan. Grilled Fish Heads are hung on stick at the entrance of your house. Why? Because Demons hate bad smells didn't you know that? Drive out the demon and drive bad fortune!

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