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Setsubun 2024: Date, History, Celebrations and Facts

Setsubun, a Japanese celebration officially marking the start of spring, can be observed on February 3, depending on the lunar calendar.

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Setsubun 2024: Every year, on February 3, people celebrate Setsubun, but, according to the Japanese lunar calendar, it can also be observed on February 2, the day before, or on February 4, the day following. On this day, spring officially begins and the Japanese Hina Matsuri spring celebration begins.

Setsubun History

Tsuina, also known as Setsubun, has its roots in the Nuo Folk religion that the Tujia community in China practiced in the eighth century. Nuo-folk exorcism involves employing numerous techniques to drive demons away from a person. These malevolent spirits were exorcised in the thirteenth century using loud drumming, wood burning, and dried sardine heads.

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In Japan, this custom is still followed today, but instead of using roasted soybeans, called “mamemaki,” the beans are hurled at a family member who is dressed as a demon and said, “Devil out! Fortune in!” After that, they consume roasted soybeans, one bean for each year of life, which are said to bring good fortune. To bring good fortune in the upcoming year, one more is relished. In modern Japan, it’s also typical to see holly leaves and dried sardine heads hung outside of homes in an attempt to ward off demons.

Around the Kansai area, people celebrate Setsubun by indulging in specialty sushi rolls known as “eho-maki,” which are said to bring good fortune when consumed while facing the “lucky direction,” which is decided by the zodiac sign of that year. In 2021, for example, the lucky direction was South-South-East. These days, this custom has also extended to other parts of Japan.

In keeping with the celebration of the changing of the seasons, individuals also dress as their “opposite,” with young girls dressing like elderly women and vice versa, or men dressing like women.

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Setsubun: 5 Interesting Facts

Toss in the beans

In Japanese, “Devils out! Fortune in” is expressed as “Oni wa Soto! Fuku wa Uchi!” To partake in the festivities and draw good fortune in true Japanese fashion, simply roast some soybeans, get the help of a friend to don a demon mask, and hurl the beans at them while exclaiming these particular phrases.

Speak with a Japanese friend or return to your heritage.

Speaking with someone from that culture who has either observed the holiday for years or at least has more firsthand experience with it is a terrific method to learn more about any event or tradition. Additionally, it’s a chance to revive cherished family customs that may have faded over time.

Consume “ehomaki”

Although it has spread throughout all of Japan, the custom of consuming “ehomaki,” a lengthy sushi roll, as a good luck charm, has its roots in the Kansai region. Its preparation calls for seven elements, which correspond to the seven gods of fortune.

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Setsubun: 5 Interesting Facts

  • Risshun is the beginning day of spring, whereas Setsubun marks the conclusion of winter.
  • Japan uses the Chinese lunar calendar, which includes a six-day week known as “rokuyo.”
  • For Setsubun, which translates to “seasonal division,” the kanji characters—that is, the logographic symbols from the Chinese script that are used in most Japanese writing—
  • A long, uninterrupted roll of sushi called a “ehomaki” is used to symbolize the long-term viability of partnerships.
  • Despite honoring a demon, people attend the Kijin temple in hopes of obtaining good fortune.

Why we adore Setsubun

We have “fukumame” to eat.

Fukumame, or “fortune” soybeans, are roasted, sweet, and crunchy. They are presented in a classic wooden box from Japan. Generally speaking, you get to enjoy this snack more as you age. In Japan, soybeans are regarded as one of the top five cereal varieties.

Geishas perform at formal occasions.

Some temples and shrines host special celebrations that are open to sumo wrestlers, geishas, and other dancers. After putting on a tastefully choreographed show in pairs and groups, geisha apprentices, known as “maiko,” hurl soybeans at the guests.

It’s an opportunity to draw luck.

Setsubun greets spring and all of its positive aspects. Several easy rituals are carried out to keep bad spirits at bay, preserve one’s health, and uphold interpersonal relationships. It is a period of hope for everyone involved.


Year Date Day
2024 February 3 Saturday
2025 February 3 Monday
2026 February 3 Tuesday
2027 February 3 Wednesday
2028 February 3 Thursday
Farheen Ashraf
Farheen Ashraf
Farheen Ashraf is a History graduate. She writes on a variety of topics, including business, entertainment, laws, poetry, stories, travel, and more. Her passion for writing has led her to explore a variety of genres.

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