03 Feb 2015

Setsubun - the last day of winter

There are many festivals and events throughout a year in Japan.

Today we had a festival called Setsubun, literally means seasonal division. According to the lunar calendar or the traditional Japanese calendar, Setsubun is one day before the start of spring and it falls on 3rd or 4th of February. In olden times, the day was regarded as New Year’s Eve. People had purification rituals and prayed for good fortune for the new year.  


"Setsubun" - Bringing good fortune

Roasted beans have power

For many centuries, people in Japan have had Mame-maki or bean throwing rituals on the day in order to ward off evil spirits and wish for good luck. Roasted soybeans are regarded to have vitality and magical power protecting from evil spirits. On this day, many people celebrate the festival. People throw roasted beans inside and outside their houses while saying “Oni-wa-soto (Devils out)” and “Fuku-wa-uchi (Fortune in)”. After throwing beans, all the family members eat the beans. According to Japanese tradition, if you eat the same number  (or one more) of beans as your age, you will enjoy a year of good health. So if you’re 35, then you should eat 35 or 36 beans! When I was a kid, it was fun to have beans. But now it's a bit tough to eat many beans honestly.  


Getting beans, praying for good luck

Many temples and shrines held various kind of Setsubun rituals all over Japan. In some major temples and shrines, popular sumo wrestlers, famous athletes and celebrities were invited to drive evil spirits away. Many people gathered at temples and shrines to get the beans because they are considered good luck.  


Could you see the beans flying in the air? - Everyone is eager to get the beans at Jindaiji-temple in Chofu.

"Setsubun" - Bringing good fortune


Could you see the beans flying in the air ? - the Shinto priest threw beans at Fudaten Shrine in Chofu.  

"Setsubun" - Bringing good fortune


The “fortune" that I got in the Setsubun events today - Roasted beans and a candy  

"Setsubun" - Bringing good fortune


According to the calendar, spring will start tomorrow. I feel spring is approaching, but we still have cold days.

I’m looking forward to have warm days in spring.  


If you are interested in these temple and shrine, would you take a look at the following site? Thank you.

Chofu Walking Tour

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