This tradition is related to a ritual known as Harae that's used to purify Shinto Shrines.Although it's often translated "purification", Harae is really an exorcism that's believed to drive out bad spirits. According to local traditions onsen waters must remain pure and people completely bathe before entering the water.
This was once only practiced in Osaka but has spread nationwide in recent years due to the marketing efforts of Japanese convenience stores.
Eating ehomaki is an auspicious activity that's done in complete silence.
A yamayaki is a festival that involves burning the vegetation from a mountain before Spring.
These can be visually stunning and are often combined with a fireworks show.
This is a predicament because there's often no place to put the towels.
The traditional solution is to put it on your head.Various stories are used to explain how the tradition began including ancient land disputes and problems with wild boars.Setsubun is a Japanese holiday celebrated on the eve before spring according to the Japanese lunar calendar.People bring a small towel into the bath area for this purpose.The towel has been used to wash and shouldn't enter the bath water.The Japanese are familiar with the western custom of eating a turkey dinner for Christmas.However, turkeys are difficult to find in Japan and most ovens in Japanese apartments and homes are too small for a turkey.It's traditionally believed that the spirit world comes close to our world at this time and that demons are likely to appear.On Setsubun, parents throughout Japan put on an oni mask and try to scare their kids.As a substitute, many people prepare a roast chicken dinner instead.It's also remarkably popular to eat KFC on Christmas Eve.