February 3rd of next week is a Japanese holiday called “Setsubun”. Setsubun celebrates the end of winter and welcomes spring. It is a fun holiday to celebrate, especially if you have children. Here are some activities you can do:
1) On the night of Setsubun, it is tradition to throw beans and yell “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” meaning “Ogres out! Fortune/Good Luck In!”(read more here). Traditionally, roasted soy beans are thrown, but I read peanuts can be used as well. One person can dress up like an ogre and others can throw beans at him/her. You can make your own ogre mask here (from Glico), here (Canon creative park) or here (surfies.net). In our Japanese playgroup, we throw balls/beans at ogres made out of boxes. The kids love it!
2) You can make origami Oni and Fuku here, from origami-club.
3) Another tradition that I just learned about, is to eat makizushi (rolled sushi):
“It is customary now to eat uncut makizushi called Eho-Maki (恵方巻) (lit. “lucky direction roll”) in silence on Setsubun while facing the yearly lucky compass direction, determined by the zodiac symbol of that year.”- from wikipedia.com
4) Read more about Setsubun:
In English, here (wikipedia).
In Japanese, here (wikipedia) and here (kidsnet).
5) I thought this Sasae-san episode was very informative about Setsubun. (No.5981「タラちゃん鬼は外」)
(What is Sazae-san?)
6) In our playgroup, we decorated paper cups with stickers, pen, and yarn to make Oni (they became our bean-holders):
Easy-peasy for the toddler crowd. Any other fun ideas?
Next year, I want to make this oni game.
See my post about ONI for even more resources!