It seems that we have only just finished Oshogatsu with its new year shrine visits, and Kyoto is still cold enough to feel as if it’s mid-winter, yet here we are already on the brink of Setsubun and looking forward to the prospect of spring. The exorcism of demons at the darkest time of year is done in ritual fashion and celebratory fashion, featuring the throwing of beans.
Green Shinto has covered this joyous occasion on several occasions in previous years. An explanation of why beans are used to throw at demons can be found here. For several photos of the many events that take place in Kyoto, see here. A photo account of the religious ritual at Shimogamo Jinja can be seen here. Food and festivities at Yasaka Jinja in Kyoto are covered here. Some interesting background facts can be found here. For Lafcadio Hearn’s detailed description of the festivities at Matsue in 1891, see here.
However and wherever you care to celebrate the occasion, a happy Setsubun to you!