Oni
   Demons, representing bad luck or evil influences. Evil can either be transformed into good by Buddhist and Shinto rites or expelled, so demons have an ambivalent character. The festival of setsubun, which marks the change of season from winter to spring according to the lunar calendar is celebrated in both Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines with visible or invisible visits from demons. In a ceremony of expelling evil, the participants cry 'fuku wa uchi, oni wa soto' (good luck in, demons out). Various methods are used to overcome the oni. These range from ritual confrontations with oni, often played by actors dressed in fearful costumes who try to enter the home or shrine, to magical and symbolic acts of purification or exorcism which include shooting at the oni with arrows and then scattering beans representing good luck for the coming year. There are some festivals with processions of people wearing fearsome oni masks, such as the oni gyoretsu of the Ueno Tenjin matsuri in Tokyo and the Chayamachi Oni matsuri at the Kompira-gu, Kurashiki, Okayama held in the third weekend of October. Drummers at the Nafune taisai of Hakusan jinja, Ishikawa wear a variety of oni masks.
   See also Magatsuhi-no-kami, Bakemono.

A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. .

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