Thursday, February 4, 2010


Yesterday was Setsubun. February 3rd, which is one day before Risshun (the first day of spring according to the lunar calendar), is called Setsubun in Japan. It's not a national holiday, but mame maki (bean throwing) ceremonies are performed on Setsubun.

Traditionally, people throw roasted soy beans at home, shouting "oni wa so to" (get out demons) and "fu ku wa uchi" (come in happiness.) These beans are called fuku mame (fortune beans.) It is believed that people can be healthy and happy if they follow this custom and eat the number of soybeans of their age plus one.

We celebrated at our Japanese school. It has become so much more than a place to learn the language for our kids but also the customs and culture of Japan.

Our teacher does an amazing job. She built the entire lesson around Setsubun themes. The kids had to find demons of certain colors she called out to practice their colors. So many fun things and all the while learning about their culture and language.

She even commissioned some kids from other classes to come and act as the demons for our kids to throw beans at. Of course they thought this was a blast!


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