How We Celebrated Setsubun!

5 Feb


Oh my goodness, last week was so busy I barely had time to breathe! I meant to put up this post last week but…. obviously I never got around to it.

Anyway, the week leading up to Setsubun was a lot of fun. We began by drawing and coloring oni faces using oil pastels. Oil pastel crayons are the coloring material of choice at preschools in Japan. I love them too because the colors are bright and the color slides effortlessly onto the paper (only downside is that it’s not very washable… parental supervision is important for young kids).



To draw your own oni, begin by drawing the outline of the face. Then add horns, or “tsuno”. In Japanese cartoons, ogres usually have yellow, striped horns. Then add some curly hair and other facial features. I love how creative my daughter was with her oni.

We invited some friends over for a Setsubun Playdate. The children colored oni masks that I printed onto cardstock from KF Studio.




We then made boxes to hold our beans out of origami paper.


I didn’t want to be cleaning up beans in my house to I had the children toss their beans out the door, saying “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!”.

We finished the playdate by making maki-sushi and eating them facing the lucky direction of the year.


My daughter also learned about Setsubun at her Japanese preschool. They made these cute oni boxes using a milk carton and construction paper. Can you tell my daughter turned her oni into a princess?


Did you do anything to celebrate Setsubun this year? What’s the next Japanese holiday you are looking forward to?

10 Responses to “How We Celebrated Setsubun!”

  1. kmaruyam February 6, 2013 at 6:53 AM #

    Loved it! I did not know about the oil pastel use at Japanese preschools – very interesting tip. Looks as if all of you had fun. I am doing a presentation on Setsubun today and Friday at the kids’ schools. Oni masks, oni bags… Ack, so many oni this week — ONI ha soto, fuku ha uchi!

    • Hiragana Mama February 6, 2013 at 8:43 AM #

      I highly recommend the oil pastels by Crayola! Good luck on Friday!

      • Lisa Koizumi February 6, 2013 at 5:31 PM #

        Next up Hinamatsuri! Looking forward to making some Girl’s Day mochi and putting out the doll display.

        • Hiragana Mama February 6, 2013 at 10:22 PM #

          I love Hinamatsuri too ❤

  2. Kuya Joshua February 7, 2013 at 11:57 AM #

    Just wondering, how celebrated is Setsubun? As a baby in Den-en-chofu, we never celebrated Setsubun and neither did our American friends. Among native Japanese, is Setsubun celebrated by most people? 🙂

    • Hiragana Mama February 7, 2013 at 12:16 PM #

      Good question. I think most people with young children in school celebrate Setsubun in some way. Among my Japanese friends, most do the bean-throwing but many did not eat Ehoumaki. That part might depend on where you live.

  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook February 8, 2013 at 12:48 AM #

    I failed this year to celebrate. My daughter is sick and completely forgot. I thought about it BEFORE setsubun, but so busy and I realized it’s passed! Glad to see you celebrated with the kids! I feel so bad neglecting a lot of Japanese cultures like this. Sigh! 😦

    • Hiragana Mama February 8, 2013 at 8:45 AM #

      Sorry she was sick! At least your kids get to eat delicious Japanese food all the time 🙂


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