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(ChatGPT 勝爺)2024-02

Setsubun literally means "separation of seasons," and used to refer to the beginning of each season: spring, summer, fall, and winter. However, today it is especially widely recognized as the day before the first day of spring, or the day that welcomes spring. On this day, families and shrines across Japan hold bean-throwing rituals to ward off evil spirits and bring in good fortune, according to ancient customs.
The origin of bean-throwing is that beans are a symbol of life force and are said to have the power to ward off evil spirits and diseases. Families scatter baked beans, known as fukumame, inside and outside their homes while chanting, "Oni wa outside! Fuku wa inside!" This act is to pray for the health and happiness of the family and to get the new year off to a good start.
This rich tradition is celebrated in different ways in different parts of Japan. For example, in the Kansai region, the custom of making ehomaki is especially popular, and various types of ehomaki are sold at supermarkets and convenience stores.
Ehomaki is the custom of eating a whole futomaki roll in silence while facing a specific direction (eho) towards Setsubun. This direction changes every year and is said to bring good luck for the year. When eating ehomaki, it is common to eat while thinking of your wish.
On the other hand, in Tokyo and other regions, there is more emphasis on bean-throwing, and large-scale bean-throwing events are sometimes held at local shrines.
In addition, many kindergartens and elementary schools hold Setsubun events, where children learn about Japanese traditions by playing the role of demons and throwing beans. In this way, Setsubun is an event that can be enjoyed by all generations, from children to adults, and can be said to be a great opportunity to experience Japanese culture.
The custom of Setsubun is often dismissed as mere superstition or old custom, but behind it lies the Japanese spirit of deepening family bonds and wishing for health and happiness throughout the year. This day is the perfect opportunity to take a step back from your busy daily life, cherish time with family and friends, and start the year with a fresh mindset.