Japanese Holiday (Setsubun no hi)

So February 3rd in Japan is called Setsubun no hi. It is a day to drive off Demons, the day the Japanese consider the day before Spring arrives.

Literally, the name means ‘Seasonal Division’, and not only are you supposed to take beans and throw them at someone acting as a Demon entering your home then shut the door on them, but you are to also eat ‘Ehomaki’. A type of fat sushi maki roll filled with Kanpyo (Gourd), Egg, Shiitake Mushrooms and various pickles.

Every year, you are designated to eat the food in a big bite facing a certain direction. Now mind you, we do not cut the makizushi into bite-sized pieces but have to bite off a good portion from the entire roll (See pictures below). This year, it was designated to face as ‘East, Northeast’. By doing this it ensures that you will become great the following year and is also good if you are engaged in business. (I need all the help I can get).

So, throwing beans and driving away disease-bringing evil Spirits is fun unless you have kids in the house and the Demon enters and freaks them out. But you have to get them to throw the beans and scare away the Demon. (Might be a little traumatizing). LOL Think of this as westerners throwing rice at newly married couples…. but without the Demon masks! LOL

This time of year it was always (and still is) felt that Spirits come close to our world, so things that are normally outside, are brought into the house so the Spirits/Demons do not mess with things and people would cross-dress to wear their hair different to confuse the Spirits and possibly they could not find you. This is practiced today with the Geisha when they perform on this particular day.

Anyway, do not be alarmed if you are walking down the street and see Demons popping out of houses with beans being thrown at them!

Author: Richard

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