Monday, November 22, 2010

wedding season

Koharu-biyori(小春日和, Indian summer day) continued for some days. Koharu(小春) is an another name for the 10th month in the lunar calendar(corresponding to November in the solar calendar).

In Japan, many couples have their weddings in October, November, March and May. June is in the rainy season, so it's thought to be unsuitable for wedding.

People avoided to get married in the 10th month in the lunar calendar due to the absence of the Japanese gods in the Edo Period, .

In the Edo Period, few commoners had their weddings. The weddings of the warrior class were done in the bridegroom's house from early evening until night.

Most marriage ceremonies have been conducted in Shinto shrines since the Meiji Period.

Today, many couples choose Christian-style weddings, although most of them are non-Christians.

Nezumi no Yomeiri(ねずみの嫁入り: A Spouse For a Mouse, The Mouse Bride)

Mie Kuwahara, "Oshi-e no Gaku-e" in the November issue of Oshare-Koubou(Tokyo:Japan Broadcast Publishing Co.,Ltd., 1995),p.24.
桑原実絵,"押し絵の額絵", おしゃれ工房11月号(東京:日本出版放送協会, 1995),p.24.

This is a folktale about mice finding a husband for the daughter. Eventually, he marries off his daughter to the next door mouse.

This is made with a handicraft technique named Oshi-e(押し絵:padded cloth picture). By using this technique, we can put fabric scraps to good use.

In Shinto-style wedding, a bride wears a pure white kimono named Shiromuku(白無垢) and a silk floss headdress named Wataboushi(綿帽子) at the ceremony according to Shinto rites, and she changes into a colorful kimono named Iro-uchikake(色打掛) and a headdress named Tsunokakushi(角隠し) during the wedding reception.
Uchikake is a women's bridal robe with trailing skirts worn over a kimono, and its hem is stuffed with cotton. Upper-class ladies used to wear it. Tsunokakushi literally means a headdress to veil bride's horns.
A groom wears a short coat for formal kimono named Haori(羽織) marked with a family crest and man's formal divided skirt named Hakama(袴).

bridesmaid(介添人, kaizoenin)

Elderly women take the role.

Hourai-san(蓬莱山, Mount Penglai)
According to Chinese legend, Hourai-san is the mountain where a mountain hermit lives.Hourai-san is a big monju(buns filled with sweat bean paste) with a weight of 1 kg and contains some small monju. It is also known as Komochi-manju(manju with children), so it's served in celebrations like weddings.

Yomogashima(蓬が嶋) sold at Toraya(虎屋) is the same confection as this. According to Toraya's records, the retired Emperor Koukaku(光格上皇, 1771-1840) bestowed Yomogashima on Mizuno Tadakuni(水野忠邦, 1794~1851). The Yomogashima contained 50 small manju. 
According to Toraya's records of the late Edo period, the confection contained 20 small manju.

Now several confectionery shops sell this contection only by subscription. Toraya's Yomogashima contains five or seven small manju.

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