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Monthly Feature Story-February 2019-Bean-Throwing Ceremony

Cultural Tips - Bean-Throwing Ceremony

February 3rd is the day before the beginning of spring according to the lunar calendar. On that day, a bean-throwing ceremony is traditionally held in Japan in order to ward off evil spirits. It is believed that people are more vulnerable to evil energy when the seasons change.

Bean-throwing ceremonies are held at major shrines, temples and at people's homes. At home, people throw roasted soybeans outside their house or at a family member wearing an "oni" (demon) mask, shouting "Oni-wa-soto" (Out with evil demons). After closing all the doors and windows, they then toss the beans inside their house, chanting "Fuku-wa-uchi" (In with good fortune). Soybeans are believed to have the power to drive away evil.

It is customary to eat the same numbr of soybeans as your age, so that you will be expecially happy and healthy. The bean-throwing ceremony is fun for children and this custom is so widespread that you can find roasted soybeans and a demon mask at local convenience stores and supermarkets this time of year.

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