Setsubun – A Japanese Throwing Holiday

4 02 2010

In my family Easter and Christmas are throwing holidays. Easter eggs and balled up wrapping paper. No, the throwing has nothing to do with Jesus, which is a bit sad considering what the holidays both stand for (his birth and death), but they are a very silly part of my family’s traditions.

The Oni

My students and their teacher dresse as the "Oni"

Yesterday, for the first time I experienced a real throwing holiday. In Japan, the third day of February is Setsubun. Setsubun is a holiday where people throw beans (or peanuts in the shell the class I was in) at the “Oni” (devil or bad spirit) to rid them from their houses and welcome in health and happiness.

In the classroom, teacher and two students put on Oni masks and tried to sneak into the room. The rest of the class and I threw peanuts at them to rid the classroom of them. It was hilarious. The best part is when I realized Setsubun is a real throwing holiday. I started laughing at the whole thing and that my family didn’t originate the throwing holidays. Japan did.

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3 responses

5 02 2010
Liz

Considering the true origins of Easter and Christmas (ie the eggs dyed with sacrificed infants blood) I don’t think you have to feel bad about having “non-Christ centered” traditions for those holidays. Everyone does. My friends family used to hide a pickle ornanment on their tree and the kid who found it got an extra present.
That is cool that you have found another random link to Japanese culture though. If it were me, that would make me feel more connected and more sure that I had made the right choice to be there. I am glad you are having such a great time.

5 02 2010
beckywithasmile

Thanks! That’s crazy how we started doing dyed eggs. I’m glad we don’t use that method anymore.

I did really enjoy it. And slowly I’m feeling more connected.

That pickle idea is funny! :)

7 02 2010
BandonRandon

Yay for “real” throwing holidays!

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