Shichijuni-kou (72 Seasons) Calendar Listing
晩春 Banshun: "Late Spring"
Season No. 6: 穀雨, Koku:
Climate No. 18: 牡丹華
Botan Hana Saku:
"The Peony Blooms"
(April 30 -May 4)
The "king of flowers," the frilly, floppy peony reigns supreme along with the chrysanthemum, bamboo and pine tree as an iconic symbol in Japanese art, culture and lore. Often paired with lions or dragons in design, peonies symbolize wealth, power and success. They also imply reckless courage and a disregard for consequence, making them a favorite design element for wearers of traditional irezumi tattoos.
|A splendid pair of peonies graces the border of a vegetable garden (Fujishiro, Ibaraki).|
|A lemon yellow peony in the second courtyard of Kosaiji Temple in Setoda, Hiroshima.|
"The bee emerging
From deep within the peony
Departs reluctantly." -Matsuo Basho
Tradition of the Season: 田植え, Taue, Rice Planting
|Rice starts awaiting planting (Hikone, Shiga)|
|A rice transplanter with seedlings loaded.|
|Black-headed gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) picking out shellfish and worms from a flooded paddy ahead of the transplanter.|
Without the tractors, these gulls couldn't easily access this prime food source. The paddies provide food not just for humans, but for all sorts of organisms: dragonflies, snails, snakes, frogs, foxes -going all the way up the food chain. It's easy to dismiss all activities of mankind as destructive to the environment. But what a blessing it is to stumble across examples of symbiosis like this one!
It's almost redeeming!
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