February 3rd was Setusbun, the day you throw beans at demons to get rid of your bad luck, and start a year of new better luck.
Sestubun in celebrated yearly on February 3rd, and is reminicent of the historic lunar new years/start of spring. The rituals of the day are to cleanse oneself of bad luck, illness, and any negativities from the previous year, and start the new year fresh, by throwing beans at demons.
At our towns shrine, people gathered around a makeshift platform. The preists, all came out onto the platform, and threw beans out over the crowd, people were in a frenzy to catch as many as possible. The preists also threw oranges, candy, and little envelopes of money out over the crowd. People pushed and shoved, and were very rude to each other, in an attempt to get as much loot as possible, which was exactly what I was in the mood for today.
I made out with 150 yen, and some candy. My kind and gentle husband got nothing. As we headed home, I gave my candy to a little girl, who was too kind and gentle for the frenzy. It was a fun way to spend a half hour, and now I have 150 yen of lucky money that I am going to spend on some peach juice!
**Small note to anyone with a peanut allergy, they throw hand fulls of peanuts into the crowds. The entire grounds of the shrine were littered in soy beans and peanuts. I assume the grounds will be messy for a few days. **