- Commonly referred to as the bean-throwing festival, setsubun is a new year's ritual related to the Chinese calendar and carried out on 3-4 February, at the old lunar or Chinese new year. 'Setsubun' just means a season-division; here the day before spring, the beginning of the agricultural year. The rite may be carried out at home or at a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple. In the home the eldest son or another male scatters roasted beans from a wooden box saying 'oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi' ('demons out, good luck in'). At shrines and temples guests similarly throw 'lucky beans' (fuku-mame) from a platform while members of the public scrabble for them in order to secure good fortune for the coming year. Persons chosen to scatter the beans are called toshi-otoko (year-man). At the Taga taisha, Shiga on February 3rd a hundred toshi-otoko scatter beans and fuku-mochi (lucky rice cakes) to the crowd. At the Heian jingu a figure carrying a staff and wearing an alarming golden mask with four eyes sees off demons.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.