Tuesday, 2 February 2021 – Setsubun, the event of throwing beans to chase away the demons

Good evening from Tokyo under the state of emergency.
Day 26.

As I wrote in last night’s post, today’s topic is about the Setsubun, the event of throwing beans to chase away the demons.

In the old times in Japan, the year was divided into four seasons on the old calendar system. The last day of each season is called Setsubun (節分). The first day of spring in the old calendar is Risshun (立春). The day before Risshun – the last day of winter – is the special event day. In present times, Setsubun usually means the day before Risshun.

On this day, Japanese people pray to sweep away evil spirits (邪気 = Jaki) and to bring good health and safety to the following year. Jaki (邪気) also means Jaki (邪鬼), literally “demon” (👹 鬼 Oni) in Japanese. Therefore, on Setsubun, there have been a lot of events in many places to chase away demons.

These events are Mamemaki (豆まき bean-throwing). In the Mamemaki, beans are thrown at people wearing the demons’ masks. Traditionally, people throw beans and shout “Oni wa soto” (demons are out) and “Fuku wa uchi” (lucky is in). After that, people eat the same number of beans as their age.

Depending on the area, either soybeans or peanuts are thrown in the Mamemaki. However I bought the beans snacks because the soybeans were sold out. I ate them without throwing. Yummy.

Recently, a new custom of eating Futomaki (太巻), called Ehomaki (恵方巻), has been born. Futomaki is a sort of sushi roll. Ehomaki is not a tradition, it’s a commercial production. I think Futomaki is one of the soul foods of the Japanese people. So, I believe that many people feel lucky to have one more day getting the chance to eat delicious Futomaki.

Tomorrow, 3 February, is Risshun in Japan. On the old calendar system, it’s the first day of spring. I imagine the plum trees in the park are already in bloom. I go to bed thinking of their smell and colours.

Have a nice dream. Good night.

Wear a mask and wash your hands.
Stay safe and healthy 😊😷🖖🖖🖖🖖🖖
2 February 2021 #tokyo #japan