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What is Setsubun (:節分) and what do you do on that day ?|節分とは?その日は何をするの?

Updated: Jun 14, 2022

What is Setsubun? 節分とは?

Setsubun(:節分) is a day to ward off evil and wish for health and happiness your family.

People throw roasted soybeans while yelling "Oni wa soto: demons, get out!" and "Fuku wa uchi: Good luck, come in!"



Setsubun beans and Demon mask|節分の豆と鬼の面

The meaning of the word Setsubun means "the day between each season." The day refers to the day between winter and spring, which is usually the 3rd of February. You might think that this is too early for the arrival of spring, but it is set according to the old lunar calendar.


The idea of Setsubun is to drive away evil (oni鬼: demons) and welcome in goodness (fuku福: good luck). Thus, people throw soybeans into and out of their house, yelling, "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi !"

The reason for using roasted soybeans is a bit strange. In order to rid the home of evil, the thrown soybeans represent evil. By using roasted soybeans, it is assured that they will not sprout (any evil).



Setsubun Beans

After doing the ritual of throwing out evil spirits and welcoming good luck, people eat the same number of soybeans as their age. This is done to ward or evil spirits from their bodies, too. It is said that by eating the soybeans, our bodies get stronger and protect us from illness.


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Eating the same number of beans as your age becomes a real challenge as you grow older. 😅


I really liked visiting the Hiei Shrine on this festival. The temple invited many famous people, including the city governor, and from a stage they threw beans in little bags to the visitors. I hope they will hold it again in 2023!

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