"Setsubun" - the day before spring

February 3rd is the day called "Setsubun" (literally means the seasonal division) in Japan.  The date is set at one day before the Beginning of Spring marked on Japanese classic Lunar Calender.  There is a custom called "Mamemaki"- Beans Throwing- we practice at home on the date of "Setsubun." Usually the father, or the male person of the family whose Chinese zodiac sign cooresponds to that of the year, plays a roll of Demon by wearing Demon's mask. The family members throw roasted soy beans towards him outside of the house calling "Demons Out, Fortunes Inside!" and close the door of the house.  By this ritual the evil spirit is cleansed at home keeping only the good fortune inside.  I remember when I was a kid it was sort of a special occasion to become momentarily powerful against my father... by throwing handful beans against him.  He was always a great fun, playing a comic Demon at the annual event. ("Fuku-Yose" Set; Roasted Beans & Rice Crackers with Deom & Fortune Girl Masks, Minokame Co.,Ltd., Nagoya, Japan)

Roasted Snack Beans with 3 antique market found china pieces

After the ritual of "Mamemaki,"throwing-beans to keep demon spirits away, each member of the family eats one plus to his/her age number of the beans so that good luck and health can be taken in.  Beans are believed to purify one's spirit and body. Roasted soy beans are actually great taste & make a healthy snack food.

Kyoto Ware Sake Cup, Bean-Shaped "Fuku-Musume"(Fortune Girls) are lively depicted. 

Above: Hexagonal Sake Cup, ar.1970's
Below: Seto Ware plate with Underglazed Cherry Blossom, ar.1910's

"Iso no Mame"Snack Beans Comes with Bamboo Skin Box (Kitao Shoji Co.,Ltd., Kyoto,Japan)
Love this picture of 4 gangster-looking demons.  

"Seasonal Box" of February contains tiny elaborate pieces of Japanese traditional sweets (Kawato, Osaka, Japan)
So pretty that it feels like a sin to eat them ! 

Inside Box_- Jelly Pieces, Rakugan (made with Rice Powder & Sugar) Pieces depicting Symbols of Spring.

You can still enjoy the tasty beans inside of these tetra-packs after throwing them to the ground.
(Triangle Packed Fortune Beans, Mametomi Hompo Co.,Ltd., Kyoto, Japan)

* Happy Setsubun Day *


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