Throw beans at the Demon, banishing him outside! Welcome happiness in for the coming year! Oni Wa Soto! Fuku Wa Ichi!
Japanese Bean Tossing Day is typically celebrated between Feb 2 – 4 (depending on the lunar calendar) and heralds the coming of Spring. It typically falls on Feb 3rd, but in 2021, it is observed today, Feb 2nd. This is the first time it’s fallen on Feb 2nd since 1897, so the change of date is throwing off some folks (me included; I was planning this post for Wednesday!). Someone is designated as the red-skinned, yellow-horned Demon, wearing a mask or costume, and the family -or crowd- throws beans at the Demon.
Tradition has it that one is supposed to throw the number of beans that correspond with your age, plus one for good luck. A good luck sushi roll with the seven auspicious ingredients should be eaten in silence facing the lucky direction, which this year is South/Southwest. By the way, the sushi roll should not be cut, as you don’t want to “cut” your good fortune.
If you have any Demons you’d like to expel, then today’s the day! Exclaim with gusto! Don’t have a Demon in the house? Use your powers of visualization! Don’t have beans to toss? Substitute water or burn some sage or simply use a commanding wave of your hands. Stand at your door and begin your exhortations!
I’m tempted to look at the pandemic as the Demon, and the vaccines and health care workers as the metaphorical beans we toss to vanquish it.
I have not been successful at enrolling others to join me in this festive activity, so I go about muttering the traditional exhortation or using it as a salutation or closing in correspondence on the designated day. If something annoying comes my way today, I will command it to leave!
Although it seems a little early to welcome spring, remember that the seeds of Spring exist in Winter. Winter holds and nurtures those seeds until the time is right and the Yang energy of Spring insists on bring new life forth.
In with happiness, welcoming the coming spring!
Illustration by Nippon.com