Saturday, February 1, 2014

Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Festival)

( posted Japanese culture page);  Revised version from the post of Jan. 24, 2012;

Wishing "Demons out! Luck in!" on Feb. 3rd. Setsubun 節分,
(節分"Setubun" Bean-Throwing Festival or Bean-Throwing Ceremony) is the day before the beginning of spring. The two characters literally mean "seasonal division". We also have another term called "Risshun (立春)" celebrated yearly on February 3 as part of the Spring Festival (春祭 haru matsuri). In its association with the Lunar New Year, Spring Setsubun can be and was previously thought of as a sort of New Year's Eve, and so was accompanied by a special ritual to cleanse away all the evil of the former year and drive away disease-bringing evil spirits for the year to come. This special ritual is called mamemaki (豆撒き, literally "bean throwing").

While throwing beans we say, "Demons out! Luck in!"
 (鬼は外! 福は内! Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!)

恵方巻き Good Fortune Sushi Rolls
Eho-maki (fortune rolls) are futo-maki (thick sushi rolls) eaten on the night of Setsubun. To be related with the Seven Deities of Good Fortune called Shichifukujin, seven fillings are traditionally rolled in a sushi roll. For example, simmered shiitake mushrooms and kanpyo (dried gourd), cucumber, rolled omelet (tamagoyaki), eels, sakura denbu (sweet fish powder), and seasoned koyadofu (freeze-dried tofu) are used. These ingredients represent good health, happiness, and prosperity, and rolling the fillings means good fortune.

*At temples and shrines*
At temples and shrines, bean trowing ceremonies are held. The video below is from last year at a temple in Chiba-pref. Sometimes TV talents or celebrities are invited. You can see the sumo wrestlers in the picture.  Eating beans on this day means you'll have "No sickness No misfortune".  You might think it funny, but usually we eat beans with same number of our age or one more p;)