In Japan, Setsubun (節分) is part of the Spring Festival, haru matsuri and the word means seasonal division. Setsubun is the last day before the beginning of spring (haru春). This year it falls on February 3 and is associated with the lunar new year. It is also known as the Bean-throwing ceremony (mamemaki (豆撒き) or festival. Dancing, eating special sushi, roasted soybeans, theatre performances…festivities!!! In its simplest form, roasted soy beans are thrown out the door or at a family member wearing a frightening ogre mask and then slamming the door. “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi” – “Demons out, luck in!” This is a symbolic cleansing of the home to drive away evil spirits that cause bad luck and ill health.
At Shinto shrines, beans covered in silver or gold foil, coins, sweets, or other small prizes will be thrown by the priests to the crowd. in larger cities, celebrities and sumo wrestlers will be invited to do the tossing. I wonder if my guys, World Order, will be bean throwing? I’d like to find a video of that!
It is also customary to eat roasted soybeans, one for each year of life plus one, to bring good luck for the year to come. Since I like roasted soybeans, I have no problem eating several for every year of life. My neighbors, those out and about early this morning, were treated to me standing at our front door throwing beans and shouting at the top of my lungs, “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!!!” Honestly, probably no one was surprised.
Happy New Year! Happy Spring! Our Great American Groundhog, Phil, predicts six more weeks of weather. That’s fine with me. The lunar calendar says today is the last day before the beginning of spring. No matter how much it snows, spring is on the way. Tiny little bits of red are showing now on my flowering quince. Barely there buds are showing on my plum trees. I like that today is the day before spring.
And personally, I don’t blame Phil for biting the mayor. Look around in the video, there’s snow everywhere and folks are dressed like a bunch of mutant snowpeople. If someone hauled me out of my nice warm bed at the crack of dawn on a cold morning with a bunch of noisy humans shouting and taking pictures, I’d bite somebody too. Maybe Phil should have thrown beans and growled, Out Demons!!!…Nahhh, he did the right thing.
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