Saturday, February 03, 2007

February 3rd is Setsubun!

In Japan, the traditonal end of winter falls on Feb 3rd, and is known as Setsubun.
People traditonally scatter roasted soybeans to ward off evill spirits. It also prepares people to spring. People eat the same number of roasted soybeans as their age. This is believed to keep them healthy during the coming year.

The day's main event is the bean-scattering ceremony. People hurl roasted soybeans aroud the entrances and rooms of their homes, shouting 'In with fortune! Out with evil!'. Temples hold soybean-throwing ceremonies aroud Japan every year. At some big temples, the ceremony features celebrities and sumo wrestlers throwing soybeans.

I used to scatter roasted soybeans when I was a kid. But recently I prefer to forget about it.
Actually it's hard to clean up after that.

In the Kansai area, people eat rolled sushi to bring them good fortune while facing the year's auspicious direction. It's north-northwest this year. This costom has been rapidly spreading to other parts of Japan. I found lots of rolled sushi with the description in the grocery department when I went to the supermarket. It was not the custom when I was a kid. Several years ago TV shows introduced it, and then lots of people like it.

You may see these Setsubun ceremonies in some mangas. They can express the feeling of the season. I feel the end of a school year or end of winter. In Japan, the academic year runs from April to March. So it's cold and entry-exam season now. Some of students may eat soybeans for their fotune health or eat rolled sushi in hope of passing entrance exams.

2 comments:

Katsumi said...

That is nice^^
I like japanese celebrations ^__^
I heard from Setsubun.
The people become so much roasted soybeans how old there are, is that right?
Poor kids.. ^-^°

In germany exist similar celebration..I forgot the exact facts, but on ‘Fasching’ the bad ghosts and demons become drive away. Their afraid because the humans wear ugly costumes, so they escape..
..but today that knows nobody, this days only to make party and wear funny or shrill costumes (please don’t think that’s like cosplay, the german costumes are very shrill and funny, a little bit like clowns..)

lotus said...

Thank you for letting me know about the similar German celebration. It sounds interesting! ^-^