Friday, February 03, 2006

Get your beans ready: It's February 3rd

February 3rd in Japan is a holiday known as the spring Setsubun, which marks the end of winter and the coming of spring. (Setsubun is associated with the lunar calendar, which is why it doesn't correspond with the "official" beginning of spring, the vernal equinox.)


Setsubun is celebrated at home and at shrines by throwing roasted soybeans, a practice that originates in an ancient story in which a monk drove away an evil demon by throwing beans at it. The basic point to the holiday is to give thanks for surviving the winter and offer one's wishes for good luck in the spring.


(You'll notice that a lot of festivals in any given culture began as an occasion to either pray for good luck ahead or express gratitude for previous good fortune.)


The picture below shows a priest leading the Setsubun ceremony at the Aso Shrine, which is located in—you guessed it—Aso City, where Mellow Monk Tea is grown.



—Mellow Monk


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