Setsubun in Japan Date in the current year: February 3, 2016

Setsubun in Japan The Japanese annually celebrated Setsubun on February 3. This holidays is a part of the Spring Festival and it marks the last name of the winter.

Setsubun literary means “seasonal division”, that is why it can be used for every last day of the season. But usually Setsubun refers to the Spring Setsubun, the last day before the beginning of the spring in Japan.

The custom of Mamemaki is connected to the celebration of Setsubun. The custom is performed by the male, who was born on the corresponding animal year of the Chinese zodiac. If there is no such male, than the head of the family performs the ritual. Roasted soybeans are thrown out the door or at a member of the family wearing a mask of demon (it's called Oni) and people say “Demons out! Luck in!”. The ritual is still popular in the household, but many people prefer attend a temple, where the same ritual is performed.

Other practice is eating roasted soybeans. It's believed, that eating soybeans will drive away evil spirits, that bring misfortune and diseases. Every member of the family eats soybeans, one for each year of one's life. At some regions one should eat one soybean for each year of one's life plus one more for lucky year to come.

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Religious Holidays, Folk Festivals




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