Most people who come to Japan know about Setsubun, the bean-throwing holiday which comes on the 3rd of February, but most of them do not know about another very special tradition that only happens in Osaka during the same time. Well, if you haven’t already guessed from the title, it’s Japanese Halloween. On the 2nd and 3rd of every February, everything from Snow White to sexy nurses to Geisha costumes can be seen after dark on the brightly lit streets of Kitashinchi in Umeda. If one is unaware of this tradition which is only celebrated in Osaka, one might be very confused if “accidentally” stumbling into Kitashinchi after dark. Much like Halloween, wearing “scary” costumes during this time is meant to ward off evil spirits.

Another interesting and fun part of this holiday is that some costumed men, wearing oni (demon or ogre) masks, go around scaring everyone by sneaking up on them from behind and shouting “aaarrgghh” loudly into their ears. Some of these men are actually hired by the owners of many bars, restaurants, and clubs to go in and scare the customers. This is a way to “scare the living demons” out of people. In addition, while the men in demon masks set to the task of scaring people, an older man usually accompanies them, and plays music out of a conch shell (he’s usually standing somewhere in the background). After everyone is properly shocked, the men in demon masks throw a few handfuls of roasted soybeans, shouting, “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” which translates as “Demon’s out! Luck in!” It is also a custom to eat the roasted soybeans (yes, the ones that have been on the floor), one for each year of your life and sometimes, one more to bring good luck in the future.

            Another significant tradition during this time to eat uncut maki-zushi (basically a very big sushi roll usually containing egg and vegetables) while facing in a particular direction. This year it was North-East. One more thing, you can’t talk while eating it. So, if you manage to face in the right direction and silently eat your large sushi roll, you should be lucky for the next year.

            And for those of you who thought that Osakans didn’t celebrate Halloween, guess again. 

 


Comments

01/09/2015 4:42am

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02/12/2017 3:16am

Halloween in February was a cold event of my life and i have really enjoyed the moment since the event started, it was my pleasure to be here and enjoyed the moment.

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06/08/2017 11:07pm

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08/01/2017 8:22pm

Japanese culture is so rich. That’s one thing I’ve noticed about them. Though they are tagged as the number one country in terms of technology and great progress, their traditions are still very obvious and they preserve it in a very admirable manner. It may sound so weird for some, but people of Osaka celebrate Halloween season on February. They have their unique way on celebrating this event, and I think this is just one of the proofs that Japan is a role model to its fellow countries!

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08/17/2017 4:47am

I'll visit my family on this day this year. My father works as an engineer and he was doing his best when I was a little girl. I want to say thanking words to him and to give him a trip to his dream destination as a present.

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