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.
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Photo courtesy of Katorisi via Wikimedia Commons