Setsubun is a Japanese Holiday Celebrating Springtime

Today is a Japanese Springtime Festival called Setsubun. It’s celebrated every year on February 3rd. The tradition is to chase out the demons from your house by scattering roasted soybeans.

Photo of Japanese Soy Beans

Ayako wrote to me about the holiday from Japan:

Hi Lisa,

February 3rd is “Setsubun” here. It is a ceremony, the day before spring, in which people scatter roasted soy beans in order to drive away goblins (bad luck) and draw in happiness.

When scattering beans, we say “Oni wa soto, Fuku wa uchi.” (鬼は外! 福は内!) It means “Go out goblins, come in happiness!”

So we open the window and scatter beans outside, saying “Oni wa soto!”, and quickly shut the window so that the goblin doesn’t come in, and scatter beans in the room saying “Fuku wa uchi!”.

We collect up and eat an amount of beans that correspond to our age, expressing a wish for good health.

I attach the photo of roasted soy beans (see above).

Hope you like it!


PS Men sometimes put on demon masks. There are often the cases that father plays a role of demon with a demon mask and kids scatter beans at him. (I found the video below showing this…)

Also, I found an interesting site that kids can color the demon mask on the website and use as the demon mask by printing it! It is free!

Here’s a statue on the demon Oni that comes on this day…

Photo of a Statue of the Demon Oni

Thanks for sharing this with us Ayako and for sending the photo! We hope you enjoy Setsubun today!

Best wishes for good health,

Mama Lisa

PSS I just found this video below of the demon walking in the town (among kids) – they’re throwing soybeans at him to get him to leave…

This article was posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 at 1:34 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Holidays Around the World, Japan, Japanese, Languages, Mama Lisa, Setsubun. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to “Setsubun is a Japanese Holiday Celebrating Springtime”

  1. Linda Austin Says:

    Japan is so amazingly rich in folktales and ancient interesting traditions. I love it.

  2. Lisa Says:

    I agree! The demon Oni is very interesting. There are even proverbs about it. Here’s one:

    Oya-ni ninu ko-wa oni-no ko (親に似ぬ子は鬼の子)

    “A child that does not resemble its parents is the child of an Oni.”

Leave a Reply