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Setsubun: The Japanese Bean-throwing Festival

Today, Japan celebrates Setsubun, or the “Bean-throwing Festival“. It signals the start of Spring, thus it is also called the “Seasonal Division”.
1x1.trans Setsubun: The Japanese Bean throwing Festival In Japan, Spring symbolizes a “new life/year”, (because it also coincides with the Lunar new year), so the people perform Mamemaki, or bean (roasted soybeans, or sometimes, peanuts) throwing, to “cast away the past’s bad spirits”.

A member of the household wears an oni (demon) mask, then other family members and friends throw the beans at him/her, while saying “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!

(Demon out! Luck/happiness in!).

It is also customary to eat one bean per one year of a person’s age, plus an additional one bean for the coming year, for good luck. (。´∀`)ノa

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The Tale of the Peony Lantern (Botan Dōrō)

むかしむかし, there lived a young man named Saburo, who was born into a rich family of business owners. He fell in love with a girl named Otsuyu. Their love was a happy, pure and blossoming kind of love, like a beautiful peony flower. Their relationship became deeper as time went by, and soon they planned to be married.

1x1.trans The Tale of the Peony Lantern (Botan Dōrō)

One day, Saburo got severely ill, so severe that he couldn’t see Otsuyu for a long period of time. He tried to get well as soon as possible, because he missed her so much. When he got strong enough to leave the house, he went to search for Otsuyu, desperate to see her again.

He looked for her everywhere, but what he found was a very terrible news. He was told that Otsuyu had died some time during his absence.

A very heartbroken Saburo grieved her loss everyday. That year, on the Obon festival, he prayed for her soul to visit him.

As he went home on the night of the festival, he came across a beautiful lady and her maid. They were carrying a peony lantern. As the light of the peony lantern came upon the lady’s face, Saburo saw that she looked exactly like Otsuyu!

He ran up to her, not believing his eyes. But before he could even speak, tears welled up on the lady’s eyes, and she said, “They told me you died of your illness, my dear Saburo. I was so heartbroken that I asked my maid to come with me to get away from the town.. But here you are, alive and well! I am so happy!”

Continue reading?

1x1.trans The Tale of the Peony Lantern (Botan Dōrō)
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