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Published on 06.28.2016
Setsubun, literally meaning “seasonal division” is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan celebrated yearly on February 3 as part of the Spring Festival. Spring Setsubun was thought of as a sort of New Year's Eve, and so was accompanied by a special ritual to clean all the evil of the former year and drive away disease-bringing evil spirits.
The custom of Mamemaki first appeared in the Muromachi period which is usually performed by the Toshiotoko of the household (the male who was born on the corresponding animal year on the Chinese zodiac), or else the male head of the household. Roasted soybeans (called "fortune beans") are thrown either out the door or at a member of the family wearing an Oni(demon or ogre) mask, while the people say "Demons out! Luck in!" (Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!?) and slam the door. As part of bringing luck in, it is customary to eat roasted soybeans, one for each year of one's life, and in some areas, one for each year of one's life plus one more for bringing good luck for the year to come.
At Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines all over the country, there are celebrations for Setsubun. Priests and invited guests will throw roasted soy beans, small envelopes with money, sweets, candies and other prizes.
The New Year was felt to be a time when the spirit world became close to the physical world, thus the need to perform Mamemaki to drive away any wandering spirits that might happen too close to one's home. Other customs during this time included religious dance, festivals, and bringing tools inside the house that might normally be left outside, to prevent the spirits from harming them. Watch this vlog to learn more.
The ending of this video is very interesting!
Source: Gimmeabreakman (Youtube)