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Setsubun: Japan’s Bean Throwing Festival

By Emma, Australia, February 2013

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Spring is coming in Tokyo, let’s throw some beans!

Setsubun is a day to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring in Japan. Traditionally beans are scattered or thrown on this day as a way to chase away evil spirits (oni). As strange as it may sound, the custom of throwing beans (mame maki) is in fact an ancient tradition that dates back as far as the Ming Dynasty in China and is still practiced by many Japanese today.

Setsubun is celebrated on February 3 or 4 each year, whichever day precedes the start of spring according to the Japanese lunar calendar. While recognized as a festival and celebrated throughout Japan, Setsubun is not a national holiday and businesses remain open.

Editor’s Note: This recommendation was taken from our Tokyo Things to Do blog. Visit the original post to continue reading the full post and to learn more about things to do in Tokyo.

Photo courtesy of Katorisi via Wikimedia Commons

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