Setsubun (節分)

I went to a Setsubun ceremony at Sensou-ji in Asakusa last Saturday.

While setsubun ceremony, people throw beans at someone who wears a daemon mask. The daemon is a metaphor for sickness or unhappiness, and throwing beans drives them off. People say “Oni ha soto, fuku ha uchi (daemons outside, lucky inside)” while throwing beans. And then, people eat the beans (if it's inside, the beans they threw). The number of beans is the same as your age. It is said that eating the beans bring happiness and good health to you.

This event is usually held in each family, especially those which have small children, but it is also held at some temples. Sensou-hi is one of them. Some famous people who are living or working in Asakusa stood on the stage and threw a paper-pack of beans to the audience. The audience are not daemons though.