During Mame-maki, soybeans are tossed to expel bad luck and bring in good luck.
During Mame-maki, soybeans are tossed to expel bad luck and bring in good luck.

Setsubun and Hoshi Matsuri, the traditional Japanese rite of the new spring, will be observed on Sunday, Feb. 2, from 1:30 p.m. at Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo.

According to the lunar calendar, this annual ritual denotes the beginning of the new year and the starting of spring, a time when one wards off misled karma and brings good fortune through the esoteric celebration called Hoshi-Matsuri (Star Festival), which is for deifying one’s own star and praying for its destiny.

This rite will be preceded by a fire ritual (Goma) in which misfortune of the past year is exorcised and expelled according to the Shingon Buddhist tradition.

As one of the traditional exorcism rites, the Mame-maki (tossing roasted soybeans) will be performed, following the Goma fire ritual, by the Fuku-Otoko (Lucky Man) and Fuku-Onna (Lucky Lady) in traditional costume. This is done while shouting “Oni wa soto” (Out with the devil) and “Fuku wa uchi” (In with good luck) repeatedly.

Bishop Emeritus Taisen Miyata of the temple will conduct the service for the new spring in the Year of the Horse (uma-doshi).

Lauren Iwata, the Nisei Week Queen for 2013-2014, will be the Fuku-Onna and Jack Tanaka, the mayor of Diamond Bar, has been selected as the Fuku-Otoko for this year. The two will toss roasted beans in the traditional manner. The oni (devil) appears with a mask and costume holding an iron bar during the ceremony.

More than 300 people are expected to attend the rite, which concludes before the Super Bowl begins.

For further information regarding the service, omamori (amulet), and ofuda (blessed charms), call the temple office at (213) 624-1267 or visit the temple, located at 342 E. First St. (between San Pedro and Central), Los Angeles.

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