The Last Day of Winter 'Setsubun' 節分

Jan 30, 2022


‘Setsubun’ is the last day of winter and spring starts from the next day and it is normally February 3rd. This is based on the lunar calendar  and the date can be 2nd or 4th of February depending on the year.


Japan followed the lunar calendar in the past like many East Asian countries and celebrated New Year as the beginning of spring around February. However, it was changed to the solar calendar in Meiji Period and the lunar calendar is often called ’old calendar’ and the New Year followed the lunar calendar is called ‘old New Year’ in literal translation.


It is believed that a monster called ‘oni’ visits your home in the evening of ‘Setsubun’. People throw (soy) beans outside of the house towards ‘oni’ saying ‘Oni wa soto! (the monster should stay outside!)’ This is because ‘oni’ actually represents something eval within your spirit and mind and beans are believed to purify it. Therefore, people also throw them inside of the house saying ‘Fuku wa uchi! (happiness should stay inside!)’ 


After that, you eat the same number of beans as your age of the year to wish your health and happiness for the year. People eat other things too depending on the regions. For example, it is famous that people eat a type of sushi roll called ‘Ehomaki’ in Osaka area.


This event is also held in many famous Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. For example, the celebrities throw beans at ‘Sensoji’ in Asakusa, Tokyo and ‘Yasaka Jinja’ in Gion, Kyoto and you can watch it on TV as well. It might be interesting for you to visit one of these places if you have a chance one day,


I am going to eat the beans on this coming ‘Setsubun’ and beat Corona! In your country, what kind of event is held when you welcome spring? It might be nice to try the beans one day if you would like.

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