Setsubun (節分)meaning seasonal division is the day before changing the seasons. Therefore there are four setsubun in Japan, but we usually refer to the day before the start of spring according to Japanese lunar calendar. It celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It takes place on February 3rd or 4th, and it is on February 3rd this year.

Fukumame(roasted soybeans) and masks of oni (ogre or demon) and good luck


Fukumame (roasted soybeans) and a mask of oni (ogre or demon)

On the day people do mame-maki ceremony (bean-throwing). They  throw roasted soybeans called fukumame (good luck beans) to drive out bad luck. People usually say “Oni wa Soto, Fuku wa Uchi “, meaning demons out, fortunes in. After the mame-maki ceremony, people eat the same number of soybeans as their age to wish  their  good health and good luck in the  year ahead. This custom started around the Muromachi Era (1392-1573).

There is another custom. People eat  so-called Ehomaki(恵方巻き) , a big rolled sushi,  facing toward eho, the good luck direction of the year, which is Nan-Nan-To(南南東), south-southeast this year without saying a word. It is believed that the fortune will come if you do so.