A good excuse to throw beans at your Dad! Oni ha soto, fuku ha uchi! (demons out, good fortune in!)
When: February 3rd every year.
All over Japan, on February 3rd, children throw beans at their father (who wears a demon mask), to ward off bad luck from the home.
Setsubun is the eve of the first day of Spring according to the old Japanese calendar, and there are several traditions to be upheld on this day in aid of keeping out evil demons and bringing good fortune.
Mamemaki (bean scattering) is one of the rituals performed at temples and shrines on Setsubun. People jostle around to attempt to grab these beans to receive good fortune.
People also throw beans out of their front doors, shouting “”oni ha soto, fuku ha uchi” which means “demons out, good fortune in!” Sometimes the father of the household will wear a demon mask and the children will chase him and throw beans at him.
For added good luck you must also eat the number of beans that correspond to your age.
Have you experienced Setsubun in Japan yourself? If so, please tell us all about it! You can share your pics and videos on our facebook page too! Or if you just want to say hi, or leave a comment for any other reason, we’d love to hear from you.
Along with the beans people eat special sushi fortune rolls. These are long rolls of sushi, filled with seven lucky ingredients and are supposed to represent continuing good luck (See our recipe for Sushi Maki to see how to make your own fortune rolls). They must be eaten facing a certain lucky direction which changes each year based upon the zodiac. You shouldn’t talk until you have eaten the whole sushi roll or the good fortune will disappear. There is also setsubun zarusoba-buckwheat noodles which are meant to keep away illnesses and the threat of house fires for the year.
Sekihan rice is often served on special occasions, holidays and festivals in Japan. Its red colour is considered the colour of happiness. Try our Sekihan recipe. Drink warm Sake.
Here are some Setsubun masks to print and cut out.