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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Setsubun Festivals in Kyoto


Kyoto plays host to a number of interesting setsubun festivals on February 3rd each year. This auspicious day is one day before Risshun, which is the first day of spring according to the lunar calendar.

Setsubun Festivals Kyoto

In ceremonies, first imported from China centuries ago, devils (oni) and ill-fortune were symbolically driven out by a four-eyed shaman, Hososhi, who drove the demons away from the four cardinal directions. This ritual exorcism was later replaced by bean-throwing, where the devils were driven off with shouts of "oni wa soto; fuku wa uchi" (demons out; fortune in). This tradition continues in households throughout the country using roasted soy beans.

Setsubun festivals are held at Heian Jingu (3rd Feb), Rozanji Temple (3rd Feb), featured on the video below), Shimogamo Shrine (3rd Feb), Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (3rd Feb), Yoshida Shrine (2nd-4th Feb), Mibu-dera Shrine (2nd-4th Feb), Yasaka Shrine (2nd-3rd Feb), Shogo-in Temple (2nd-3rd Feb) and Senbon Enma-do Temple (2nd-3rd Feb).

Kyoto's geisha and maiko community is out in force during setsubun to scatter beans and perform dances.

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