Tengu festival


Tengu festival, Shimo Kitazawa

Tengu are supernatural creatures that appear in Japanese folklore. They are seen as protective or guardian spirits to be respected, if not somewhat feared.

Setsubun day marks the day before the beginning of each new season. Setsubun literally means “split the four each seasons”. Japanese people generally celebrate Setsubun in the winter as it marks the coming of spring and new life. At Setsubun, beans are traditionally scattered as a way of expelling bad luck while people shout “Oni-wa-soto!” or “Demons outside!” to chase away evil spirits. However, at the Shimokitazawa Tengu Festival we scatter the beans while saying “Fuku-wa-uchi” or “Good Luck/Fortune inside” three times and never say “Demons outside”. The reason behind this is that it is believed that evil naturally dissipates in an atmosphere that is full of happiness.