On the 3rd February it was Setsubun. This is day when people chase away evil spirits before the start of spring according to the lunar calendar. There are many things which people do in order to chase away the devil:
- In some families the father of the house will put on a devil mask while the rest of the family throw beans at him shouting, 'oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi.' This translates as 'devils out, happiness in.'
- You are then supposed to eat as many beans as your age, plus one extra as good luck for the forthcoming year.
- People often eat sardines as the smell is supposed to scare away the devil.
- It is also a tradition to eat a long roll of makizushi while facing in the direction which has been chosen for that year. You are supposed to eat the whole roll in silence.
After the performance the devils came back up the hill and we followed them as they made their way to another shrine. Not many people walked all the way up so I could get really close and take lots of photos. It was interesting for me because the festival had officially ended so I could see behind the scenes; people taking off their costumes and mothers waiting for their children who had been part of the ceremony.
|This isn't a devil. He is the one who is supposed to scare away the devil.|
|Devil with a strange sense of style, leopard print pants?|
|I think this devil has been enjoying all the food stalls.|
|I think this monk just got a funny text?|
|Even devils need a helping hand.|