Tokyo Diaries – Setsubun

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Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!

Here are some pics and videos from this year’s Setsubun at Kanda Myojin, the same shrine at which I rang in the new year.  That’s “New Year’s” according to the modern calendar – according to the old calendar though, the lunar new year is celebrated at the beginning of February – which is also the demarcation between Winter and Spring.  Fans of Hyouka will be quite familiar with the way the old calendar dates (still used by Shrines) differ from the Gregorian calendar dates.

The most famous part of Setsubun, of course, is Mamemaki – the bean-throwing ceremony so memorably portrayed in last week’s Shirokuma Café.  At Kanda Myojin it consists of a bunch of celebrities tossing goodies at the crown from the second story of one of the Shrine buildings.  I didn’t recognize any of them, though one was wearing a super sentai mask – last year they had AKB48 (no word on whether any of them had shaved heads).

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  1. e

    I'm not sure if it's due to the Win8 OS, to the Firefox update or both or neither but yay I can see your video embeds in Firefox at last. No more hopping to Chrome woohooo.
    Drums! 8D
    The adults are cool, but the drumming children are both cool AND adorable *pets video*
    Seems like you got nice weather to enjoy the celebrations too.
    As usual, thanks for sharing.

  2. N

    These are great pictures. Thanks for sharing!

  3. S

    My small town didn't have anything quite like that. Shrines were open but no peanut throwing or anything like that. You had to buy your own peanuts.

    Did you eat as many peanuts as you are old?

  4. Yeah, weather was fantastic that day. I was actually hot in the sun.

    Pooks, it's roasted soybeans – not peanuts! If you want your good luck make sure you eat the right thing… And I did – plus one extra for good luck in the new year. I feel sorry for all those ojii-sans who have to eat 90 soybeans – without a beer to wash them down they're damn dry.

  5. G

    It looks so festive! It reminds me so much of childhood. And soybeans? xD Oh wow, what is the story/meaning behind it? The number you eat has to do with age?

    Oh, and Happy Lunar New Year Enzo!! ^^ Thanks for the awesome pictures.

  6. From Wikipedia:

    The beans are thought to symbolically purify the home by driving away the evil spirits that bring misfortune and bad health with them. Then, as part of bringing luck in, it is customary to eat roasted soybeans, one for each year of one's life, and in some areas, one for each year of one's life plus one more for bringing good luck for the year to come.

  7. e

    The beans throwing part mirrors quite closely the rituals associated with Lemures of Roman tradition now that I think of it. The English wiki mentions black beans… my classic Latin literature high school teacher would rather have labelled them as fava beans I think though. (the ritual is described in the 3rd paragraph of the intro. During the Lemuria festivities the head f the family would wake up late and night and throw beans to repel the evil spirits). Still nowadays one of the typical dishes is Rome is the fave (fava beans) alla Romana 😀 .

  8. G

    How do they taste Enzo? lol..Now I get what you mean by feeling sorry for ojii-san, that's a lot of soybeans…>.<…

  9. Much better with beer.

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