Thursday, February 3, 2011
February 3 marks the yearly Setsubun celebration, which is a bean-throwing festival. At shrines and temples across Japan, people can throw roasted soybeans to drive away evil spirits and misfortune. Traditionally, beans were thrown at a family member adorning an oni (demon) mask, but these days people head to local shrines.
Big, uncut sushi rolls (makizushi) are also eaten on this day, facing the lucky compass direction, which is related to the current zodiac year (2011 is the year of the Rabbit). Unfortunately I missed out on the sushi munching (and apparently ginger sake drinking), but I participated in the bean throwing events.
Today at kindergarten, the kids all sported their demon masks (the ones we spent countless hours making at arts and crafts time... oh finger paint and glue everywhere on my clothes...) and threw balled up newspaper at makeshift demon cardboard structures on the playground. The kids looked adorable and it was fun to take part in a traditional Japanese custom.