Customs for February

Sun, 3rd February: Setsubun

Setsubun is a day that marks the changing of the seasons, and especially marks the day before Risshun, the day when spring begins to draw near. There are many events held in Japan on February 3rd. It is said that demons come out during this season, so people drive them off by throwing roasted beans. During these celebrations, people yell out loud, “Oni-wa-soto, Fuku-wa-uchi,”literally meaning “go away demons and bring good luck.”After that, people throw roasted beans at other people disguised as demons, wearing masks and special ‘demon’ attire.

Mon, 4th February: Risshun


‘Risshun’ starts on this day and it used to be considered New Year’s day, but it has now officially been replaced by January 1st , as most are familiar with. From this day forth, it gets warmer day by day.
With that being said, this day signifies that the end of winter is near.

Mon, 8th February: Hari-Kuyo: The memorial services for sewing needles

Sewing has been a very important job for women since ancient times in Japan.
Needles are obviously the necessary tools for sewing, so we have a day to show thanks to them. All sewing work should be halted on this day. We have memorial services for needles that have been broken the year before. The ritual consists in poking the broken needles into tofu or konjack. You can witness it in some shrines and temples.

Thu, 14th February: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is not a typical Japanese tradition, but Japanese people have a peculiar way to celebrate it. To know more, read our article:

Valentine’s Day in Japan: How and Why Do Japanese Women Give Chocolates to Men?

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