Today, February 3rd, is the day of Setsubun in Japan. As we live in a new place, my girlfriends mother told her we had to start on the right foot and follow the good old traditions to bring us luck.
On this day, which marks the turning point between winter and spring, you have to kick the 鬼 or demons out your house and bring the 福 or good fortune in. This is done by having someone dress up as an 鬼 and throwing 福豆 at them while chanting 「鬼は外！福は内！」 which is a whole bunch of fun.
Then you put a 厄よけ out your door to ward off any evil spirits that would like to come back in. It’s some sort of mistletoe-like bouquet on which you stick fish heads, the smell of which is supposed to scare demons.