It’s not often that kids get a chance to chuck food around, without getting in trouble from Mum. But that’s what the Japanese festival of Setsubun is all about.
On Setsubun children and adults throw dried soybeans around in celebration of the change of season and to drive away evil spirits.
Thought to have originated in the 1400’s the festival marks the coming of the Lunar New Year and is typically celebrated with Mame Maki the ritual of throwing soybeans and is held in households and temples through out the country on February 3rd.
Father’s put on monster masks, and children follow him around the house with cries of “Oni wa sato, Fuku wa uchi” (Out with evil, in with good) as they throw soybeans at him in each room of the house to ward off evil spirits. After throwing the beans each member of the household is meant to eat one bean for each year of age plus one for good health in the coming new year.
If you are in Japan around Feb 3rd go along to Setsubun and have a blast as the kids scream around chasing monsters and the adults return to being kids again at least for a while.