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Setsubun

Get ready to drive away evil spirits and welcome good luck with traditional bean-throwing celebrations on Setsubun!
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When it is?
February 3
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Category
Cultural
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Country
Japan
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Introduction

Get ready to celebrate the traditional Japanese holiday of Setsubun on February 3! This day marks the beginning of spring in Japan and is a time to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck for the new year. One of the most popular customs on this day is throwing roasted soybeans at temples and shrines while shouting "Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi" (Out with the demons, in with fortune). It's also a time for delicious food, like eating uncut sushi rolls called eho-maki for good luck. Let's learn more about this unique and festive holiday!

History of Setsubun

Setsubun Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>700s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Setsubun Origins</div><div class='timeline-text'>Setsubun, marking the change of seasons, is first noted in ancient Japanese texts, beginning as a religious ritual to cleanse evil and bring good fortune.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1500s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Soybean Custom Introduction</div><div class='timeline-text'>The custom of scattering roast soybeans around houses and temples as a prayer for good health and fortune emerged in the Muromachi period.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1800s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Eho-Maki Tradition Begins</div><div class='timeline-text'>The tradition of eating eho-maki (a type of sushi roll) facing the year's good fortune direction became popular during the Edo period.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1980s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Commercialization of Setsubun</div><div class='timeline-text'>Setsubun began to be heavily commercialized in the 1980s, with retailers selling ready-made eho-maki and soybean packets for the festival.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1990s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Setsubun Festivals Grow</div><div class='timeline-text'>Major temples and shrines started hosting large Setsubun festivals in the 1990s, attracting both locals and tourists</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2000s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Global Recognition of Setsubun</div><div class='timeline-text'>More non-Japanese communities started to celebrate Setsubun, largely due to the global popularity of Japanese culture in the 2000s.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Setsubun

<div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Make your own Ehomaki rolls</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Ehomaki is a traditional food eaten on Setsubun, which consists of a thick sushi roll filled with seven different ingredients. Try making your own Ehomaki rolls at home and have fun experimenting with different fillings.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Attend a Setsubun festival</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Many temples and shrines in Japan hold Setsubun festivals with traditional performances and rituals. Attend one of these festivals to experience the cultural significance of Setsubun first-hand.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Wear an Oni mask and participate in Mamemaki</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>During Setsubun, people wear Oni masks to represent the evil spirits being driven away. Join in on the tradition by wearing an Oni mask and participating in Mamemaki, where you throw roasted soybeans to drive away evil and bring good luck for the year ahead.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Learn about the history and meaning of Setsubun</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Take some time to research the origins and cultural significance of Setsubun. This will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation for the holiday as you celebrate it.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Make Oni-sugars for your friends and family</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Oni-sugars are small candies shaped like Oni masks, often given to friends and family as a token of good luck on Setsubun. Try making your own Oni-sugars and give them out to loved ones to spread the holiday spirit.</p></div></div>

Why We Love Setsubun

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It's a fun and unique tradition</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Setsubun is a unique Japanese holiday that celebrates the start of spring by driving away evil spirits with roasted soybeans. It's not something you see every day, making it a fun and interesting tradition to be a part of!</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It brings people together</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Setsubun is often celebrated with families and communities coming together to perform rituals and eat special foods. It's a great opportunity to bond with loved ones and partake in something meaningful.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It marks the beginning of spring</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>After a long, cold winter, Setsubun signals the arrival of spring. This brings hope for warmer weather, new beginnings, and fresh starts. Plus, who doesn't love an excuse to clean and declutter their home during this time?</p></div></div>

5 Cultural Facts for Setsubun

Setsubun FAQs

When is Setsubun?

Setsubun is celebrated on February 3 every year. In 2024 Setsubun will occur on a Saturday.

Setsubun Dates

Year
Date
Day

2023

Feb 3

Friday

2024

Feb 3

Saturday

2025

Feb 3

Monday

2026

Feb 3

Tuesday

2027

Feb 3

Wednesday

Cultural Holidays