節分【Setsubun (the evening of the first day of spring)】

Setsubun is a traditional Japanese event which is carried out on the day before the first day of spring. This day currently falls on February 3rd or 4th. In Japan it is the custom to perform rites to exorcise evil spirits on Setsubun. Scattering beans, called mamemaki in Japanese, is typical of such exorcisms. It is customary to throw beans, usually roasted soybeans, both indoors and outdoors while chanting “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” This means demons go away and good luck come in. This chant is made with the hope of repelling the demons and summoning good luck. It is said that people will be blessed with good health if they eat the same number of beans as their ages. In addition to scattering beans, people living in some areas in Japan stick the head of a grilled sardine on a branch and attach it at the entrance to their homes in order to repel the evil spirits.

節分は立春の前日(現在では2月3日または4日)に行われる伝統行事です。節分には悪霊を追い払うための儀式を行う習慣があり、豆まきはその代表的なものです。鬼を追い払い福を招くために、多くの家庭で「鬼は外、福は内」と唱えながら家の内と外に豆(炒った大豆)をまきます。そして家族の一人一人が自分の年の数だけ豆を食べると健康に過ごすことができると言われています。地方によっては、豆まきのほかにも悪霊払いの儀式として、焼いたイワシの頭を木の枝に突き刺して戸口につるすところもあります。

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