Friday, February 5, 2010

Setsubun - A Japanese Throwing Holiday

In my family Easter and Christmas are throwing holidays. Easter eggs and balled up wrapping paper. No, the throwing has nothing to do with Jesus, which is a bit sad considering what the holidays both stand for (his birth and death), but they are a very silly part of my family’s traditions.

[caption id="attachment_162" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="My students and their teacher dresse as the "Oni""]The Oni[/caption]

Yesterday, for the first time I experienced a real throwing holiday. In Japan, the third day of February is Setsubun. Setsubun is a holiday where people throw beans (or peanuts in the shell the class I was in) at the “Oni” (devil or bad spirit) to rid them from their houses and welcome in health and happiness.

In the classroom, teacher and two students put on Oni masks and tried to sneak into the room. The rest of the class and I threw peanuts at them to rid the classroom of them. It was hilarious. The best part is when I realized Setsubun is a real throwing holiday. I started laughing at the whole thing and that my family didn’t originate the throwing holidays. Japan did.