Two of our wonderful parents came in today to talk about a Japanese holiday called Setsubun. In our Montessori classroom, we try to expose our children to different cultures and give them an idea or create an impression of people from other parts of the world. This helps them to become a citizen of the world!
Setsubun is celebrated on February third and Japanese people celebrate it to help bring in the spring. Several hundred years ago the Japanese believed that around Setsubun monsters or Ogres in the mountains came down to town. These monsters were called Oni.
People threw “Mame” or soybeans to drive the Oni away.
At school children wear Oni masks that they make and chase away pretend Oni who come to visit by throwing soybeans at them.
At the shrine, some people dress up like Oni and come out so all the people can throw soybeans at them. People also throw beans at shrines and temples after a special ceremony.
They brought Oni masks for all of the children to wear.
After the children throw the beans, they are supposed to eat the number of beans equal to their ages plus one. In Japan, they believe they can be happy and healthy if they eat the beans.
When throwing the beans, there is a chant they must do:
Oni wa soto! (Get out, Monsters!) Fuku wa uchi! (Come in, happiness!)
It was a very fun presentation and day! Thank you to Kana and Yoshiko for exposing us to this Japanese holiday!
We have been learning a bit about Japan this week at school as part of our Asia study.
Here is an art project involving making our own cherry tree blossoms.
We also had nori cutting as a food prep activity.
The afternoon children made furikake which is a Japanese seasoning to go on rice balls or Onigiri.
The children enjoyed eating the rice balls!