On Friday, February 1st, second graders celebrated one of my favorite Japanese customs, Setsubun (節分), which is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan. Although the name literally translates to “seasonal division,” the term usually refers to the spring Setsubun – properly called Risshun. Risshun is celebrated yearly on February 3rd as part of the Spring Festival. In its association with the Lunar New Year, spring Setsubun can be and was previously thought of as a sort of New Year’s Eve, and so was accompanied by a special ritual to cleanse away all the evil of the former year and drive away disease-bringing evil spirits for the year to come.
Second graders have prepared for this custom by making masks in art class and collecting styrofoam peanuts for casting away spirits. Once our students cleansed their classrooms and selves of bad spirits and invited in good luck by throwing peanuts, we convened in the CE Auditorium to learn how to make large uncut sushi rolls that were then enjoyed in silence while we contemplated a goal or wish for the next season.
Have a look at the creative ways Moravian students and teachers celebrated this colorful event: