Setsubun - the traditional annual event held in February

Setsubun is a traditional event held every 3rd of February, the day of turning of the season from winter to spring in accordance with the Japanese lunar calendar. On the day of Setsubun, people throw parched soybeans inside and outside of the house to drive out demons (bad luck) and to welcome in good luck, and this custom is called Mamemaki.


Also, there is a traditional custom that people eat as many beans as their ages to pray for their future well-being. If you are wondering why you see a stack of soybean bags sold at supermarkets only around this season, this will help answer your question. 

The number of people who do the bean-throwing at home is getting fewer as it is bothersome having to clean up the cracked beans spread in rooms afterwards. Instead, another custom is getting popular that is to eat long Norimaki (Sushi rolls) on Setsudun day, this new custom must have been created for the market expansion of Norimaki.

If you want to experience Mamemaki, just visit large temples or shrines on the 3 of February where the Mamemaki festival is held. At the festival, you are not to throw beans but Sumo wrestler, Kabuki players or those celebrities participate in, and they throw beans with tiny gifts toward visitors, which make a chaotic fever among people trying to get the gifts. It always makes me wonder why Japanese people, who usually stay calm in crowds, even in disaster, get crazy at beans.


Youtube | by honey01jp : Mamemaki at Asakusa Sensoji Temple