Saturday, September 4, 2010

Moon Viewing


Moon Viewing is held on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar(corresponding to September 22nd of this year in the Gregorian calendar).

Moon Viewing derives from the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, but we celebrate it in a different way. It is also called Imomeigetsu (芋名月) or "Potato harvest moon".


Many Japanese enjoy the full moon and offer it foods such as rice dumplings called Tsukimi dango(月見団子), taro, edamame, chestnut, kaki persimmon, kinukatsugi(衣被, steamed unpeeled taro) and flowers such as susuki(薄:Japanese pampas grass), hagi(萩:bush clover or Japanese clover), ominaeshi(女郎花:Patrinia scabiosifolia).
In the Edo Period, some sophisticated people enjoyed to see the moon from the top of a many‐storied building and Some held a banquet on board a ship.

People enjoyed to hear suzumushi singing. We can buy artificially-bred suzumushi (鈴虫: Japanese bell cricket, Homoeogryllus japonicus).


susuki(薄:Japanese pampas grass)















ominaeshi(女郎花:Patrinia scabiosifolia)















hagi(萩:bush clover or Japanese clover)

photos:「季節の花 300」Kisetsu no Hana 300
http://www.hana300.com (Japanese version only)






Tsukimi dango(月見団子):
In kyoto, oval-shaped(taro-shaped) dumplings wrapped with adzuki bean paste are offered.













kinukatsugi(衣被):







Geppei(月餅):
Chinese people eat mooncakes(月餅) with their families or friends on this day. They customarily offer mooncakes to familiar persons or people who have helped them.







Katsura Rikyu(桂離宮), which was built in the 17th century in Kyoto, has a large moon-viewing facility named Geppa-ro(月波楼). Aristocrats used to enjoy to view the full moon and its reflection on the surface of the water.

Amaterasu-Omikami(天照大神) is the goddess of the Sun and an imperial ancestor. Her younger brother Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto(月読命) is the god of the moon and controlls the night. He came to be enshrined as the god of agriculture because his observation of phases of the moon leads to making calendar that is important for agriculture. Ancient people associated wax and wane of the moon with repeated rebirth, and the moon came to symbolize rebirth and immortality.


My mother went shopping at a mall with a shopping bag like this in my childfood. There are a dish with cooking chopsticks linked by a piece of string, a case of eggs and a coin purse on the low dining table.



The tea ceremony for moon-viewing is held from evening while the host and guests are waiting for the moonrise.

furosaki-byoubu(風炉先屏風): Two-panel folding screen placed behind furo(風炉).
furo(風炉): charcoal water heater for the tea ceremony. It's used from early May to late October.
chagama(茶釜):kettle for the tea ceremony
MIzusashi(水指):tea ceremony water jar
Kensui(建水):wastewater receptacle, Hishaku(柄杓:a long-handled bamboo ladle)


Natsume(棗):jujube-shaped tea case
chawan(茶碗):tea ceremony bowl, chashaku(茶杓):tea scoop, chasen(茶筅):bamboo whisk






tabako-bon(煙草盆,tobacco tray):
Tabako-bon was said to be brought to Japan from Europe as a tea utensil In the early 17th century. It's a smoking kit including a charcoal fire container, cigarette butt container and a pipe. Feudal lords started to use it and it spread to commoners.

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