Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Setsubun, Feb. 3rd

Setsubun was held in Japan on Feb. 3rd. The traditions revolving around this holiday kind of depend on the region, and/or family you're with. In many households, the adult males will put on demon masks and terrorize the children. The kids, in return, throw beans at the demons (oni) to chase them out of the house. In other cases, the children will stand at the doorway of the house or apartment and throw the beans while yelling "Demons out, good luck in." Yet another tradition is for families to visit the local shrines, where the priests and heads of sponsoring companies toss out bags of candy and beans to the audience. That's what we have here at Terukuni Jinja, near my apartment.

I arrived just before 4 PM, when things were supposed to start, and the parking lot was already packed. There was no option for getting any closer to the stage, and at any rate all that was at stake were candies and dry, flavorless beans. I stayed at the back, and watched as the adults went crazy for anything that got close to us. The entire event lasted 30 minutes. After that, half the people simply left, while the other half went to a booth to buy their own bags of beans. Also, one other custom is that after throwing the beans, you pick them up and eat the same number as your age for good luck in the coming year, but no one did that in the parking lot, that I saw.

Direct youtube link

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