Setsubun has its origin in China, and it is said that it entered in Japan in the Heian period. It is a fun festival celebrated the day before the first day of spring. it is also known as the ‘bean-throwing festival’. Setsubun is a traditional ceremony that is performed by the Japanese people to banish demons, and is celebrated on 3rd or 4th of February. People scatter beans or the ‘mamemaki’ to drive demons away. This is one of the many rituals that are performed to dispel evil. One of the elder in the family dresses as a demon while children throw beans at them and the children also scatter the beans all around the house. Usually people start to scatter beans from the room that is the farthest from the entrance and then gradually come towards the entrance while scattering beans throughout the house. Windows are left open and beans are thrown out of the windows in order to throw out the demons along with it.

Photo by Josie Agerton on

On setsubun, beans; usually soybeans, are scattered everywhere around the house, be it outside or inside while chanting ‘oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi!’ i.e. out with demons, in with good luck! It also a custom for the members of the family to eat the same number of beans as their age, this is said to bring good health. People also eat Makisushi rolls in complete silence while facing the lucky direction of the which is determined by the zodiac of the year, and the makisushi roll is eaten as a whole without slicing it as it is considered that slicing it would mean slicing your good luck. People close their eyes and make a wish while eating the makisushi rolls.

Many people visit temples during the setsubun as nowadays, many shrines hold special events during setsubun.