Friday, February 3, 2012


It seems that  Staten Island Chuck and Punxsutawney Phil cannot agree on when Spring will arrive. While Phil saw his shadow, in turn predicting six more weeks of winter, Chuck did not see his shadow which calls for an early Spring.  Here's hoping that Chuck is the one who got it right.  And even if not, at least he didn't bite the mayor this year.  (Chuckle)  That's still a running joke around here.  This is quite a festive time of the year with Imbolc, Candlemas, and Groundhog Day, so I thought you might enjoy a festivity that comes to us from Japan. 

Since ancient times, the Japanese have celebrated Setsubun on February 3rd or 4th, which, according the ancient Japanese calendar, corresponded with the beginning of the natural year when winter first softens into spring, a shift once believed to bode evil and bring disaster. On this day, centuries old purification rights are performed by priests in all temples and shrines. The best known ceremony of Setsubun is the custom known as Oni-yarai, or the casting out of devils. An exorcist wanders through the streets crying, 'Devils out! Good fortune in!' and is eagerly welcomed into the people's homes to perform his feat, which consists in the recitation of certain prayers and the rattling of a wand called a shakujo.

The people also celebrate this festival at home. The father or the oldest man in the family takes the role of a demon. Inside the house, the rest of the family members throw the beans  about the house in four directions saying 'Evil is out, good luck is within.' It is believed that the evil demons of winter have a loathing for dried beans so beans are placed in every corner of a family's house and pointed branches and sardine heads are mounted over the doors.

After throwing the beans, people eat the same number of beans as their age to wish for good health that year. For example, if you are 25 years old, you will eat 25 beans. The beans, having accomplished their function of expelling the devils, are swept up and carefully preserved until the first clap of spring thunder is heard, when it is the custom to cook and eat some of them.

Prayers are written on slips of paper and then cast from bridges into the rivers below.

Anyone have any special plans this weekend?  I'll be slaving away in the kitchen.  Actually, it's not exactly 'slaving' anymore.  I love working in my new kitchen, but I really am needing some rest about now.  Pain drains everything out of you, and this sciatica, though manageable, is driving me up a wall.  Yesterday it was someone better and less painful so hopefully I am on the mend.  

Wishing everyone a weekend filled with love, peace and joy.


  1. I hope you have a good weekend yourself....bitterly cold in our neck of the woods, but can't complain because it has been pretty mild up until now.

  2. May the magic beans drive out the sciatica devil!

  3. One of the lower discs in your spine are impinging on a nerve my friend.
    Mine is impinging on a nerve that leads out to my right leg. Once upon a time the chiropractor could free the nerve. Not now...since it's bone on bone. sighhhhhhhh
    Even if you arn't a sport must be going to watch the Giants play the SuperBowl Game Sunday night. My Patriots will be there. SEE YOU AT THE GAME ;0)

  4. Hi Mary....I going to run right out to the store and by me some "beans".
    I kinda' like that "evil is out....good luck is in thing." LOL LOL



  5. Had to giggle at eating those beans.... And getting evil out. ,-) The poor older folk, having to eat lots of beans for their age. Mmmmmm, the *gas coming out* will seem like *evil.* ,-)

    "Nothing is exciting if you know what the outcome is going to be."
    ~Joseph Campbell

  6. I'm glad you are enjoying your new kitchen. What a difference it makes in cooking to enjoy rather than dread. The food tastes better.

    As for this weekend, we're helping the SisterWife and Husband-in-Law move into their new house. I predict lots of cursing, arguing and laughing.