Happy Setsubun 2013!

Setsubun (節分) is a holiday I have posted about before, but usually it happens on a weekday and I am at work, so I can’t really celebrate with my wife and daughter. It is one of many little “seasonal” holidays in the Japanese calendar. This holiday originally existed at the beginning of each season but from the Edo Period onward (1600-1868), it was practiced once a year only. Now it has moved to the solar calendar, hence February 3rd.

Setsubun is a fun little family holiday that involves driving out bad luck (symbolized by demons “oni“) and bringing in good luck. Parents will often put on an “oni” mask and let the kids throw roasted soy-beans at them. Or, you can just throw soybeans at the door. The kids recite:

oni wa soto Oni, get out!
fuku wa uchi Luck, come in!

People will also eat, especially around the Kansai Area, a kind of sushi-roll called ehō maki (恵方巻), which seems to bring more good luck.

Anyway, since we live in the US, we have to improvise a little. We couldn’t find roasted soybeans, even at the local Japanese supermarket,1 so instead we bought roasted cashews. They taste good, and were lightly salted. Traditionally, you are supposed to eat as many as your age. Since I’m 35, I have to eat a lot of cashes. :p

Also, I had to make an Oni mask for myself:

Setsubun mask

Here’s me wearing the mask I made:

Setsubun mask 2

The mask was supposed to be cute and funny, but the eyes turned out pretty scary. My wife was started when she saw it. :p

I took a video of the Setsubun,2 and it was really cute, but then I decided to edit it a bit into a Hollywood-style movie preview (think Jerry Bruckheimer films)

Enjoy and Happy Setsubun!

P.S. A bit late today as it took a while to get this video completed.

1 One more reason why I don’t go there much anymore….

2 I have a much funnier video when she was 4 years old, and tried to do kung-fu on me to get rid of the demon.

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About Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.
This entry was posted in Family, Japan, Shinto. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Happy Setsubun 2013!

  1. horimasa says:

    Happy setsubun, and a nice oni mask!
    In some part of Japan, especially in the northern part of Japan, peanuts are used for Mamemaki.

  2. Hi Horimasa,

    Thanks for the compliment. I’m surprised it fit my head and eyes (I have a big head). :p

    Interesting fact about peanuts and Mamemaki. I didn’t know that one. :)

  3. johnl says:

    The local 7-Eleven started featuring ehō maki recently–I didn’t know why, but now I do! Thanks! Also, I wondered… if you pronounce it セッツブン (with a small ‘tsu’) it is pretty close to the 7 of 7 Eleven…am I taking it to extremes?

  4. johnl says:

    edit: if you pronounce it セッブン ‘

  5. Hi John,

    I heared about that too (re: 7-Eleven). I haven’t tried ehō-maki before so I don’t know much else about it.

    Regarding the pronunciation issue, it wouldn’t be the strangest thing I’ve heard. ;)

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