This papercraft is a Mamemaki Box, designed by niku-mansei. The custom of Mamemaki first appeared in the Muromachi period. It is usually performed by the toshiotoko of the household (the male who was born on the corresponding animal year on the Chinese zodiac), or else the male head of the household.
Roasted soybeans (called “fortune beans”) are thrown either out the door or at a member of the family wearing an Oni (demon or ogre) mask, while the people say “Demons out! Luck in!” and slam the door, although this is not common practice in households anymore and most people will attend a shrine or temple’s Spring festival where this is done.
The beans are thought to symbolically purify the home by driving away the evil spirits that bring misfortune and bad health with them. Then, as part of bringing luck in, it is customary to eat roasted soybeans, one for each year of one’s life, and in some areas, one for each year of one’s life plus one more for bringing good luck for the year to come. The gestures of mamemaki look similar to the Western custom of throwing rice at newly married couples after a wedding.
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