"Why did Snoopy quit the comic strip? Because he was tired of working for peanuts."
Peanuts are not just for squirrels, as humanoids alike rejoice over their natural flavor. For instance, the Roadhouse bar and restaurant chain beckons patrons to grab a handful of salty peanuts from the barrel and toss the shells at will on the dirtied floor. But imagine if you could chuck whole peanuts at say your father, or even your math teacher? Welcome to Japan, and say hello to Setsubun!
Just call me your "Nutty Buddy"
節分, Setsubun, meaning "seasonal division" marks the beginning of each season. Though, we're more interested in 立春, Risshun, occuring on February 3 and welcomes approaching Spring. Formerly, this day was seen as New Year's Eve. Included in the celebration is an ancient ritual where the Japanese cleanse themselves of all evil but more specifically ward off evil spirits in the coming year. Called 豆撒き, mamemaki, entailed the throwing of fuku mame, roasted soybeans at the head of the household who was appropriately adorned as an Oni, a Japanese demon or ogre. The throwers will shout, 鬼は外! 福は内!, Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!, meaning "Evil out, and happiness in!" Though more recently peanuts have replaced soybeans. Across Japan, students will chuck peanuts at their homeroom teachers, while others will visit shrines, and even celebrities such as Sumo wrestlers will get involved in the peanut throwing. While, not a national holiday, Setsubun is a cultural tradition, and if I may say a wonderful excuse to hurl food at a loved one!