Mochimaki, Setsubun and Kamemaki

Posted on February 5, 2012


Yesterday was the beginning of spring in the Japanese lunar calendar or setsubun. As an interesting tradition Japanese chase away bad sprite or bad luck and pray for good luck by a ritual called Mamemaki. Mame are soybeans and maki come from throwing. Literally they chase out bad luck by throwing soybeans.


As our teacher said it. A man -nowadays man of the family- wear a devil mask and women and children chase him by shouting Oni wa sotto! Fuku wa uchi! Means devil go out! Good fortune come in! And throw soybeans (called fuku Mamet or fortune beans) on him. They chase devil and shut the door on him. The ritual for throwing devil out and replace bad luck with good luck.

In Iran we have a tradition which look like Mamemaki. The last Wednesday of the Year in iran has known as Chahar Shanbeh Suri, just before big spring ceremony Nowruz in 21 March. People make big bonfire in public places and leap over the flames, shouting: Sorkhi-ye to az man; Zardi-ye man az to (Give me your beautiful red colour; And take back my sickly pallor) then jumping over the fire.


rituals are time for family gathering and enjoying life. This year for Chahar Shanbeh Suri I am far from home and probably gonna watch videos and pictures in Facebook!

From weeks ago in all supermarkets and konbini you were able to find a corner for Mamameki’s and it’s masks. I bought a few for my family too. It was so much fun to watch our neighbor family doing Mamemaki…kids had so much fun and parents were laughing too. We didn’t done Mamemaki in our house! People were lazy and didn’t take danger of devil that serious! it’s what happen for you when became an adult! Now I want to live in a kindergarten.


Posted in: Noushinography