“Setsubun” indicates the day before the beginning of spring in Japan and is celebrated yearly on around February 3rd. It is also known as the day for holding “Mamemaki” (豆まき）festival, which is the bean throwing festival.
On “Setsubun”, the custom is to throw roasted soy-beans at “Oni” (demon) or out the door to drive away the evil spirit from the house and bringing in luck. “Oni” would be performed by one of the house members, wearing a “Oni” mask as seen in the picture below.
When throwing the beans, people would say “Oni-wa-soto！” (鬼は外）”Fuku-wa-uchi!” (福は内）, which means, demons get out! and luck come in! The roasted beans are called “Fuku-mame”, fortune beans, which have been used as a charm against demons from ancient times.
In some areas, the customs says that by eating the same number of beans as ones age would make him/her very tough and strong and less likely to catch a cold.
“Mamemaki” is very commonly held at each household, but also held at shrines and temple as spring festival.
Try visiting one of these festivals if you had a chance!
Please explore our “Japan Cool” page to learn more about the heart and essence of Japan and its culture.