Friday, February 02, 2007

Get out ogre, come in happiness!

Japan is a country of customs and rituals which supposedly increase or decrease your luck or happiness. One of these is tomorrow and is called "Setsubun". It is held every year on the 3rd or 4th of February - the day before spring according to the old lunar calendar. The most common thing to do on this day is to throw dried beans while shouting "Get out ogre! Come in Happiness!" in an attempt to chase away evil. After throwing the beans you then pick up the same number as your age and eat them which ensures you good luck for the following year.
At the kindergartens they often make ogre masks - this year my children made a waist pouch to put all the beans in. You are also supposed to eat an entire big sushi roll (approximately 20cm long) without speaking while facing the lucky direction for that year.... This will bring luck for your business, longevity and freedom from illness. If only it was that easy!
Anyone interested in learning more about "setsubun" please check out the following links:
Oni out, Happiness in

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