Setsubun: Then and Now

Every year since the kids were little, we celebrate a fun, Japanese folk holiday called Setsubun which traditionally comes the day before Spring (risshun 立春) in the old Japanese calendar. Now it usually falls on February 3rd, though this year unusually it was February 2nd due to a quirk in the old calendar.

One of the fun traditions of Setsubun is the mamemaki or bean-throwing. One of the family members (usually the dad) dresses up like an oni (鬼, ogre) and comes to the house. The kids throw roasted soybeans at the oni to drive out bad luck for the year.

In our home, the kids like to make me oni masks each year. My daughter, now a teenager, made this one for me many years ago.

Frankly this mask, while intending to be cute, is a touch frightening, so we call it the “Setsubun Death Mask”.

This year my son, who is in elementary school, made this one for me. He was inspired by the monsters of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which I play a lot so the mask is supposed to be a “gold bokoblin”. To be honest I look more like a friendly Nazgûl.

Anyhow, it is really fun to let the kids make masks for me, rather than buying them (or make my own which are kind of blah).

Oh, and to close this post here is me stuffing my face the yearly ehōmaki roll while facing whatever auspicious direction is determined that year:

Happy early Spring, y’all!

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

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