Setsubun

Setstubun is an old Japanese tradition on the first day of spring every year. Usually a man of the house wears an oni mask (a Japanese demon), and everyone else throws peanuts at him while chanting “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” which means “Demons out! Good luck in!”. Since I was the only man at home I got to wear the oni mask.

setsubun-mask

Normally on setsubun it’s traditional to throw roasted soybeans, but in the Tohoku area we throw shelled peanuts.

setsubun-peanuts

Sometimes it hurt when I was getting hit with the peanuts. We had to go around to each room of the house and do the same thing. Another tradition that we did was eating a very long rolled sushi. You have to face a certain direction (this year was east by northeast), hold the sushi with two hands, and eat the whole thing without talking. Doing all of these things will give you good luck throughout the year. I did all of them so hopefully my luck will be really good!

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10 Comments

Filed under Japan, Tradition

10 responses to “Setsubun

  1. Nice mask Eric – you should wear that all year long :-). Peanuts, ouch, that’s gotta hurt man. I’ll have to send you some smaller soybeans from Tokyo next year.

  2. I’ve heard that some parts of Japan throw peanuts rather than beans.

    I’ve worn an 鬼 (demon) mask like that when my kids were younger.

  3. bartman905,

    The peanuts do hurt, but the one benefit is after you throw them you don’t have to wash them. Just take the shell off.

    Tokyo5,

    There were no kids here when we did it, just sadistic adults. I have to do it again tomorrow at school with all of the kids attacking though. We made homemade oni masks.

  4. Ku Ri Su

    Sounds like fun, but isn’t the first day of spring still a ways off? LIke March 21 or something?

  5. >isn’t the first day of spring still a ways off? LIke March 21 or something?

    On the Solar (Western) calendar, it is.
    But on the Lunar (Chinese) calendar, Spring just started.

    Japan used to use the Lunar calendar from China.

  6. You look gentle oni-san!

  7. Naoko, I agree with you. I think my wife and mother-in-law were actually the scary oni when they were throwing peanuts at me!

  8. Keith

    Is this really a tradition or did they just want to throw stuff at you cause you’re foreign and you wouldn’t know the difference?

  9. Maybe throwing peanuts at foreigners is the actual tradition! It’s a trap!

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