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Setsubun

Have you ever heard of Setsubun before? It’s an old Japanese holiday that is celebrated between February 2-4 (this year it’s Feb 2!). The date was traditionally the day before the first day of spring, but that is on the old calendar (as it is very much still winter by today’s standards!).

The thought on this day is to tell the bad spirits to get out and welcome in the good fortune. In households with children and at schools, there is often a kind of ceremony where the kids can throw dried soybeans at the “demon” (oni) or throw them out their front door. Usually the father or some man will dress up with a demon mask and run around while the kids throw beans. It can be scary for young kids, but it is meant to be silly and fun.

It’s also good luck to eat your age in beans, so a seven year old would eat 7 beans.

In some regions of Japan there are other customs and traditions associated with setsubun. For example, eating makizushi (a special type of sushi roll).

This holiday is mostly for fun and to keep the tradition alive, it is not a national holiday where people have off of school or work. Of course, I’m not Japanese so this is just my perspective but I encourage you to look into for yourself if it interests you!