Setsubun is a special day in Japan that celebrates the change in season. It used to indicate the day before spring, summer, autumn, and winter; however, now setsubun is celebrated only on the day prior to the beginning of spring.

Japanese people wish for a good and healthy year on this day by eating sushi rolls in complete silence or by throwing beans at scary demons. The sushi rolls are called eho-maki, and they are slightly different from the sushi rolls sold at the supermarket. They are special rolls that are uncut. You should eat at least one whole eho-maki on your own so that your luck will not end. It is said that if you talk while you are eating the sushi roll, your prayers that you say in your head will not come true. Another rule when eating the sushi roll, is to face a certain direction. The correct direction changes every year. For 2016, it was south-southeast. Normally, eho-maki should be eaten for dinner on setsubun day.

Another food that people eat are roast soybeans. You can drive away evil spirits and stay healthy if you eat the same amount of beans as your age. These beans are used for chasing off demons too. It is a tradition to throw them at the people who are dressed up as evil demons. Some regions throw peanuts or even mandarins. While throwing the beans, people chant, “Fuku wa uchi. Oni wa soto,” meaning, “In with good fortune. Out with the demons.” The demon costumes are very realistic, and most small children cry in fright. But crying is said to be good, as the children who cry will receive good fortune.