Setsubun   節分

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Setsubun Festival

Masks and beans used for the Setsubun ceremony.


Personalities throw beans for Setsubun ceremony.


Sellers of beans in the station.

Beans vs Demons

This Spring Festival (held early on February 3rd) is an opportunity to shoo away bad spirits by throwing magic beans at demons! In Kyoto, even the geisha take part in this famous ritual.

On February 3rd, before the official start of spring, the Japanese celebrate the return of the warm season with a true "cleansing"! This is an opportunity to exorcise the demons that have settled over the winter. How? By engaging in Mame Maki, throwing beans, while uttering the saying goes "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi "(Out with demons! In with happiness!).

Geishas and Demons

Many temples participate in the party and organize special events. At Yasaka Shrine , geishas are at the heart of the festival, while Yoshida Shrine hosts the biggest celebration of the city. The faithful burn amulets and personal items in huge fires while the priests perform a purifying ritual.

Kitano Tenman-gu and Heian-jingu both rely on comedy with performances of Kyogen pieces and traditional dances. Rozan-ji organizes a famous dance of demons (Oni Odori) characterized by costumes and grotesque caricatures.

If in Kyoto geisha are at the party, it is customary to Tokyo to appeal to celebrities (politicians, sumos, TV stars ...) for the throwing of the beans. The city of Nara famous for its scintillating Setsubun .

Spring Sushi

On February 3rd, all of Japan hurls their precious fukumame (lucky beans) ... and then eats them! It is customary on this day to eat as many beans as your age, and maybe even a bean more to attract health and long life. In Tokyo, you can buy them everywhere, but the shop Mamegen (in Azabujuban) is the leading expert of the genre since 1865.

Another tradition of Setsubun: eat a long futomaki (a thick sushi roll wrapped in seaweed, containing raw fish and vegetables) called ehômaki while looking in a particular direction, chosen each year, for good fortune. At the end of the day, bonfires ignite the city on all sides, remnants of a past year and witness to a new beginning.

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