Setsubun: The End of Winter

by: Reiko Nishioka, Director of Education On February 3rd or 4th (depending on the year), the Japanese celebrate setsubun, the end of winter, with a ritual known in English as the “Bean-Throwing Ceremony.” “Bean-Throwing Ceremony” sounds comical and childish, however, the setsubun ritual has a long history. The first recorded setsubun ritual was in A.D. 706, more than a thousand years later year, Hokusai (Ukiyo-e artist 1760-1849) illustrated a man throwing beans at a demon. What does setsubun mean?  (setsu) and (bun) means division and setsubun means “division of seasons.” Literally, setsubun …

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