Today is “Setsubun” in Japan. I would like to skip to explain what is “Setsubun”. So, if you are into “Setsubun”, please check out the page.

It is part of our tradition. We throw dried soy beans to both inside and outside of our house and eat “Ehoumaki” while we are facing to a good luck direction every year. This year’s good luck direction is south south east. So, we eat “Ehomaki” to face to the direction.

We throw beans in the evening because we do it with all our family members. We throw beans to each room, an entrance space, a bath room, a veranda and everywhere while we are crying “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!”. We also throw beans to our garden, a road in front of our house and a space where is close to our house while we are yelling “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!”. The phrase means ” Get away evil stuff from our house, and welcome good luck to our house!” in English. After we throw beans, we eat beans as many as our age. As I hate soy beans, since I was a child, I have hated it. Since my mother is kind of a superstitious person, she never allowed me not to eat beans. We believe that we can keep good health thanks to eating beans. It is difficult for adults to eat beans as many as their age, in my parents and our case we eat beans as many as the numbers that are gotten ride of tens place of our age.

After we eat beans, we counts beans as many as our age, and we cover our beans with “Hanshi” ( it is a Japanese writing paper.). In other words, I put beans as many as my age on a Japanese writing paper and cover them with it. Each person does the same thing. And then while parents pray their children’s good luck, we put the beans covered with the paper on our children’s body parts. For instance: when we put it on our children’s head, we pray our children will become smarter than ever. Adults do the same thing by themselves. I guess it is part of regional tradition. I think my mother was born and grew up in Kyoto, so the tradition relates to the Kyoto region. That is because my husband did not know the tradition before he got married me.

After we do, we go to a Shinto Shrines and put all our beans on there. We pray our good luck again there. After we get home, we eat “Ehomaki” together.
That is our “Setsubun”.

We have lots of regions, so this tradition is different from each region. However, mine is influenced by Kyoto.


                                                                        Dried soy beans


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mikotoneko
    Feb 02, 2011 @ 20:13:06

    This sounds like so much fun. I’d love to throw some beans around and tell those evil spirits of bad luck to shove it! 😀


    • yumi
      Feb 02, 2011 @ 20:22:26

      Thanks for the comment, Miko-chan. Although I forgot to add one thing, when we throw some beans, one of parents wears a devil’s face mask and pretends a devil. In our case my husband always pretended the devil. He enjoyed scaring my daughter a lot. When my daughter was a kid, she was very scared the face mask and cried a lot. I really enjoyed throwing some beans to my husband while I was crying “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!”. It was one of our sweet memories.


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  3. Mr. Mojo Risin
    Feb 03, 2011 @ 02:14:35

    Great post Yumi, that is a tradition I was unaware of. How does the celebration differentiate between Kyoto and the surrounding regions?


    • yumi
      Feb 03, 2011 @ 12:26:09

      Hi, Mr. Mojo. Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure how different, but I guess at least people don’t cover some beans with a Japanese paper and put them on their body parts. That is a Kyoto way, I guess.


  4. Nick DeDomenico
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 22:16:22

    Once again a fantastic post. Thanks for sharing your memories and your culture with us. It really sounds like a fun day. I hope maybe someday I can come to Japan and see it for myself.


    • yumi
      Feb 05, 2011 @ 14:38:34

      Hi, Nick. Thanks for the comment. Yeah, it is easier for you to understand when you see it with your eyes rather than reading it. I hope someday you will be able to come to Japan!!! At the time, I look forward to meeting you in person!


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