On February the 3rd, 201３, was the day of the Setsubun Festival which we visited at Kitano tenman-gu. Setsubun literally means 'seasonal division', and it celebrates the passage from winter into spring. The most famous custom of Setsubun is the Mame-maki, or Bean Throwing, where people throw dried beans at people dressed in oni masks or out the door to purify the house and bring good luck in for the New Year. Lately, this practice has become uncommon among households, and most people go to temples or shrines to celebrate the event.
After the dances, the maiko and priests take trays of packets full of beans and throw to the crowd - this starts a furious struggle of people trying to grab one of the bags. It is said that you will have luck for the rest of the year if you manage to catch a bag.