In harmony with the seasons: Kangetsusai

kangetsusai

The beauty of the full moon that occurs in the middle of fall has been admired by the Chinese since ancient times. This “middle of the fall” moon is scheduled by the old Oriental lunar calendar that was in use before the Gregorian calendar was introduced and is equivalent to modern August. In ancient East Asia, August was regarded as the month when the air became the clearest and people started enjoying the full moon on the 15th of this month. The actual date of this ancient 15th of August can be translated into modern 27th of September this year. In Japan, traditionally, the full moon after the “middle of the fall” was also admired as “the moon after” or “the moon reminiscent of the fall”, and it was even regarded as unlucky not to celebrate both moons in some areas of Japan. is year, “the moon after” happens on the 25th of October. It is likely that ancient people were already aware that the moon and tidal changes are strongly related to life forces.

kangetsusai

In harmony with the seasons: Choyo no Sekku

choyu-no-sekku

The “yang” of the “yin-yang” concept is thought to become too strong and hence inauspicious on dates which are odd-numbered in both day and month. The sekku, or seasonal festival, became an event to counter this threat. Within these days, September 9th is known as the Choyo no Sekku as it is the day when the number strongest in “yang” is doubled. It has long been believed that when the power of the nature becomes too overbearing, the life of mankind is endangered. In order to avert that danger and pray for a long life, chrysanthemum flowers are soaked in water or sake and drunk for its blood-cleansing properties. In a time when most illnesses were thought to be caused by impurities in the blood, the chrysanthemum was a type of precious kampo medicine that only the royalty could afford. One of the rituals carried out during the Choyo no Sekku is to place a wad of silk on top of chrysanthemum flowers and to use the parts that absorbed the flower’s dew to wipe one’s body to cleanse oneself. The folksong, “Kikudoji”, used frequently in noh performances, is inspired by the eternal spirit of the chrysanthemum when it bursts into full bloom. In fact, during the Heian era, ladies from the nobility would wipe their faces and bodies with chrysanthemum dew in the hopes of staying young. For the peasants, it was a day to enjoy the chestnut. We now know the chestnut as being a health food rich in vitamin C, and well-balanced in terms of protein and fat. People in the past knew this from experience and eating this in the hopes of longevity on day of the Choyo is a festival tradition that cannot be missed.

In harmony with the seasons: Tanomi Festival – Early September

tanomi-festival

Tanomi Festival – Early September

The “Tanomi Festival” later became the “Hassaku Festival”—written in a different kanji character to mean festival for ‘pleading’—among merchants and samurai warriors, and evolved as a rite to foresee if riches would be amassed and a clan would be secure in the future.

In the old days, Japanese farmers used to go around the homes of friends and acquaintances on Hassaku, the first day of the eighth month of the year in the old calendar, carrying the first ears of rice harvested on that day to pray for a good harvest and to thank the Gods for being able to grow rice. These actions were called “Tanomi”. A time of year that has been noted in history as when typhoons had been feared, this period coincides with the two hundred and tenth day since the beginning of spring. Since the days when natural disasters were considered to be curses of the higher beings, people had prayed so damage would be minimal, and they buried offerings of money hoping for the safety of their family members. Such customs began to spread throughout the country, and they included the festival of the wind, hoped to appease the God of the wind. Over the years, these festivals became integrated and later led to the Hassaku festival, which eventually started to be observed throughout Japan.

November Lucky Days

In Japan November is a special lucky month because of the number 11 that can be pronounced as いい meaning “good”. Using this as an anchor point, companies and individuals use wordplay on numbers to turn almost every day of November into a lucky day. We’re already a bit into November but we’ll start the list from the top.

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11/1: good posture day いい姿勢の日 (ii shisei no hi)
Awareness day for keeping good posture at work to prevent lower back pain etc.

11/3: Good leather day いいレザーの日 (ii rezaa no hi)
On this day the leather industry of Japan appreciates good leather and even has a “best look in leather” award.

11/5: Good relationship day/ good man day/ いいご縁(ii goen) / いい男の日 (ii otoko no hi)
If you’re looking for a spouse, this is the day to visit a shrine. If you’re a man, this is the day to take care of your health.

11/7: Good woman day いい女の日 (ii onna no hi)
Appreciating women’s beauty. On this day many salons give discounts for beauty treatments.

11/8: Good bag day いいバッグの日 (ii baggu no hi)
Day to appreciate the purse/backpack/bag as a fashion accessory.

11/9: Good shoe day いい靴の日 (ii kutsu no hi)
Awareness day for wearing proper shoes to keep your feet healthy.

11/10: Good friend day いい友の日 (ii jyuu no hi)
Originally the name of a radio program. Show your friend some appreciation on this day.

11/11: Good meeting day いい出会いの日 (ii deai no hi)
The person you meet on this day might become your spouse next year on 11/22

11/13: Good knee day いいひざの日 (ii hiza no hi)
Knee problem awareness day, checkups are encouraged.

11/14: Good stone day いい石の日 (ii ishi no hi)
Good day to do anything with stones such as building a rock garden or honoring someone’s gravestone.

11/16: Good color day いい色の日 (ii iro no hi)
Awareness day for the effect of colors focusing on “making a space beautiful and functional with colors”.

11/18: Good home day いい家の日 (ii uchi no hi)
Good day to buy your own home.

11/19: Good breath day いい息の日 (ii iki no hi)
Take good care of your breath today by keeping it fresh

11/20: Pizza day ピザの日(piza no hi)
Because the pizza margherita was invented on this day, celebrate with some pizza

11/22: Good spouse day いい夫婦の日 (ii fuufu no hi)
Show some appreciation for your significant other on this lucky day.

11/26: Good team day いいチームの日 (ii chiimu no hi)
Teamwork awareness day

11/29: Good meat day いい肉の (ii niku no hi)
Day to enjoy some good quality meat.

As you can see, Japan finds a reason to celebrate almost everything. Every day has even more “lucky meanings” than the ones listed here and every year people come up with new ways to celebrate. Some are more popular than the other and people share the days on Twitter or Instagram. Will you be celebrating all these lucky days?

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Source: http://www.kinenbi.gr.jp/

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Modern kimono styling

The kimono is a timeless garment that can be passed down from generation to generation. While there are many different types of kimono styles have changed over the years. The traditional During the early 20th century the kimono got funkier patterns and became more modern. Nowadays mainstream fashion takes inspiration from kimono and even Harajuku fashion uses some traditional Japanese spirit.

Combine kimono with boots instead of sandals
Combine kimono with boots instead of sandals

What’s happened for sure is that kimono styling became more free. People aren’t afraid to wear patterns that are out of season and will mix and match their traditional style with modern accessories. Wattention reports some of the creative ways kimono lovers have made the traditional garment their own.

Artists always say “you have to know the rules of anatomy before you can break them”. The same can be said for kimono. Once you know what parts make a kimono you can replace them with parts of your own.

 

Be Cute

Obi have received an upgrade and come in different styles, such as this adorable cat obi. On her obijime (obi belt) she attached a brooch accompanied by a cute Nyanko Sensei strap, a character from the manga “Natsume’s book of friends”. Her zori are quite traditional but the Miffy tabi socks make them modern for a stylish cute look.

Miffy

Be Creative

Just like with any outfit, you can mix and match freely with the kimono. “Objime are so expensive” this girl said, “so I replaced it with a cute ribbon I found.” Another creative example is the use of a simple lace scarf to add just that bit of artistic flair to your kimono. One thing’s for sure, creativity stands out. And in the world of kimono, everything is possible!

Creative

Be Cool

This men’s yukata has a unique look with Nekomata (demon cat) embroidery. On the front the Nekomata is doing its signature dance and is relaxing with a pipe on the back. It’s difficult to find unique yukata like this so many people have them custom embroidered. If you’re good with a needle you could try embroidery yourself or attach some cool patches. The kimono is your canvas.

Nekomata

Be Fun

Because we were near the area of Ueno Zoo, famous for its giant panda, this girl said she decided to wear her panda obi. Matching the kimono to an event or location you’re going to can be interpreted as part of the “seasonal” rule, where you have to match your colours to the seasons. The inside of the obi is a popular place to store your cellphone, so she made sure her cellphone strap was visible to complement the obi.

Panda

Have Fun

Your kimono can say anything you want it to say and can be worn whenever you want. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it!

Bracer by yoroikatchu.com
Bracer by yoroikatchu.com

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA