Today in Japan, celebrities and sumo wrestlers will be throwing roasted soybeans plus small envelopes with money, sweets, candies, and other prizes into the crowds around Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.
The football throwing, of course, is Super Bowl XLVII. The bean throwing is part of Setsubun, the Japanese bean-throwing festival. Soybeans are known as “fortune beans.” In the past (and in some homes still) the “man of the family” throws beans out the front door, into the street, or at a member of the family who is wearing a demon mask. While he is throwing beans, everybody says, “Demons out! Luck in!” Then they slam the door shut. The whole festival is meant to purify the home before the start of spring.
Most Japanese people do not throw beans themselves, these days, but instead visit the local temple or shrine for the fun of scooping up what the celebrities throw.
Other Setsubun customs include wearing disguises, dressing in a way that reverses roles (such as young children dressing as adults and adults dressing as young children, or boys dressing as girls and girls dressing as boys), eating uncut makizushi (a kind of sushi) and drinking ginger sake.
By the way...
I mentioned that today is Super Bowl XLVII....
but do you know what the Roman numerals XLVII stand for?
L = 50, X = 10, V = 5, I = 1.
If a smaller number is positioned in front of a larger number, you subtract that smaller number from the larger number. Otherwise, you add up the numbers.
X L V I I
10 from 50 plus 5 plus 1 plus 1 = 47
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