節分 (Setsubun) Bean-Throwing Festival

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こんにちは \(◕ω◕)/☆

Today is 節分 (せつぶん – Setsubun) in Japan! Setsubun is a fun traditional holiday that is celebrated on February 3rd and is known in English as “Bean-throwing Festival.”

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節分 (せつぶん – Setsubun) literally means “seasonal division.”

It is celebrated on the day before the first day of Spring (立春 – risshun) and the new year according to the 旧暦 (きゅうれき – kyuureki – Japan’s old lunar calendar).

There are two main famous celebrations on 節分 (せつぶん – Setsubun): doing Mamemaki (まめまき or 豆まき) and eating Ehoumaki (えほうまき or 恵方巻き).

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豆まき – Mamemaki – Bean Throwing

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豆まき (mamemaki) means “bean throwing.” Parched Soybeans (大豆 – daizu), called 節分豆 (setsubun mame) or 福豆 (fuku mame – “lucky beans”), are used to rid the house of bad luck and bring in good luck.

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You throw the soybeans outside the house or at an 鬼 (おに – oni – ogre/demon) to drive away the bad spirits/bad luck. Often times, a father will dress up as an oni and his children with throw the beans at him.

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You throw the soybeans inside the house to bring good luck to your family.

When you are throwing the beans, there is a chant that you must do:

鬼は外!福は内!

Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!

Demons outside! Good Luck inside!

Some people get really into it…

After you throw the beans, you are supposed to pick them up and eat the number of beans that corresponds with the age that you will be in that year.

So, if you were born May of the year 2000 for example, then you would eat 15 beans because you will be 15 this year.

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Actually there are many kinds of 節分豆 (setsubun mame). This colorful sugar-coated variety is very popular!

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恵方巻き – Ehoumaki – Lucky Direction Roll

恵方巻き (えほうまき – ehoumaki) means “lucky direction roll” and it is a special kind of sushi roll that is eaten for 節分 (setsubun).

恵方巻き

It’s name comes from the tradition of eating it facing towards the 恵方 (ehou) – “lucky direction.”

Each year has a different 恵方 (ehou) and this year (2015) is 西南西 (せいなんせい – seinansei) – “West-Southwest.”

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It is believed that your dream will come true if on the evening of 節分 (setsubun) you are able to eat the entire sushi roll, facing that year’s lucky direction, without saying a word.

This custom is commonly practiced in western Japan and is generally thought to have originated in Osaka.

When eating a 恵方巻き (ehoumaki) you must face the lucky direction while eating and concentrate on what you want to accomplish after this spring.

While you are eating, close your eyes and don’t talk until you have finished.

A sushi roll is eaten so that good fortune will be rolled in. You are supposed to eat the whole roll without cutting it with a knife in the hope that good human relations will not be cut off.

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恵方巻き猫 (ehoumaki neko) (◕ω◕)♥

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