Today was Setusbun, the day you throw beans/peanuts 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 reminiscent 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 priests, all came out onto the platform, and threw beans, oranges, candy, and little envelopes of money out over the crowd, people were in a frenzy to catch as many as possible.

I made out with 150 yen, and some candy.  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!

Ushikura Shrine, Uenohara

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