Shichijuni-kou (72 Seasons) Calendar Listing
仲春, Chushun: "Mid-spring"
Season No. 4: 春分, Shunbun:
|"Sparrows On the March" (Kagamiyama Park, Higashi Hiroshima City)|
|Fresh water and flowers for the dearly departed (Motoujina, Hiroshima City)|
But for many of my Japanese friends, Shunbun no Hi (Vernal Equinox Day) is far from unpleasant. In fact it's quite the opposite. It's a time of emotional cleansing. For many Japanese, the deceased are still considered active members of the family, despite their lack of physical form. Quite a few people I've spoken with still consult the spirits of their departed loved ones as if they were still living and breathing.
Traditionally for Shunbun no Hi, the family prepares fresh flowers, Buddhist prayer paraphernalia, a picnic lunch and sweets called ohagi (soft mochi rice coated in anko bean paste) and head out to the family cemetery. After cleaning and sprucing up the graves, they offer prayers and incense to the deceased, maybe inform them of certain important family events, and finish with a relaxing picnic in the warm spring sunshine. Some families go out for a fancy dinner after cleaning up the family graves, followed by a soak in the local hot springs. Whichever way they do it, they leave with a clear conscience, ready for new year ahead.
Climate No. 10: 雀始巣:
Suzume Hajimete Sukuu:
" Sparrows Build Their Nests"
|Sparrow Chick (Toride City, Ibaraki)|
|Sparrows still in their thermals despite warm March air. (Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture)|
A horsefly plays... don't eat it
Friend sparrow." -Matsuo Basho
I've yet to meet a person in Japan who dislikes sparrows. Even my husband calls them his "little buddies." Lucky for him, they're preparing to multiply.
Taste of the Season: 蕨, Warabi, Bracken
|A boxed lunch of green bracken (left) and other mountain veggies on rice. (JR Tokaido Shinkansen)|
|Two types of edible fern at the supermarket: zenmai (brown, left) and warabi (green, right).|
|Ice-cold warabi mochi from a vendor truck, sprinkled with kinako powder. (Odori Park, Sapporo, Hokkaido)|
|Green tea flavored warabi mochi. (Saijo, Higashi Hiroshima)|
Since the mochi version of warabi is so processed, I'm guessing (hoping) that any risk is automatically removed from the product, anyways.
Let's just go along with that idea. It is the season of positivity, after all. :-)
Copyright 2014 Genkilee, Gen. All rights reserved. No part of this blog (written or photo content) may be reproduced or reprinted without the expressed permission of the author.