February 03, 2007


Displays of soybeans appear in stores near the middle or end of January for Most of the soybeans are in packages like the one on the right. There were free masks near them. Dried soybeans are thrown outside the entrance to scare oni or bad spirits away.

This is what our family does:

We throw beans outside the entrance and say "Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi" or "Bad spirits out, Good luck in". We do it three times. Jiji used to jump into the doorway wearing the mask when we opened the door. He would try to dodge the beans as we threw them at him. After he passed away, I was the oni! We now just throw the beans outside.

After the fun of throwing them out the door, we throw beans inside the entry hall and say it again. We do that three times, too. Baba throws beans out some of the windows, too. From the leftovers, we eat the number that corresponds to our age. In other words, if you're ten years old, you eat ten beans. This bean throwing custom is called mame-maki.

On the left is a package of soybean stems. There is a mask inside. Some people buy these to put near the entrance. Oni don't like soybeans because people throw them at them. Supposedly, they will stay away when they see these stems at the door. Those green leaves are pointed, too, and will poke the eyes of the oni. Another reason for them to stay away.

Kids Web Japan-- setsubun.

1 comment:

Terri said...

this is a wonderful post. what a fun ceremony. i learn so many new things in your blog. thank you. sometimes i fall behind but it is great to try to catch up. you are so observant and insightful.