Autumn tradition: Otsukimi
"Otsukimi" is a Japanese autumn tradition. Fast food restaurants or Konbini releases seasonal "Otsukimi" menus every year!
Waku WakuPublished on 20 Sep, 10:29
What is Otsukimi?
Otsukimi means "viewing the moon", and it is a seasonal festival to enjoy the beautiful full moon in Autumn. Originally it was introduced from China, and was a ceremony to show gratitude to the full moon for the autumn harvest.
Otsukimi is also called as Jyugo ya (十五夜- fifteen night), since it is celebrated on the night of August 15th of the Chinese calendar. In terms of the Western calendar, it comes around mid-September and early October, and "Jyugo-ya" of 2021 is 21st September!
How do you spend Otsukimi?
In Japan, it is a custom which people decorate with silver grasses and offer rice dumplings to the moon.
It is believed that Silver grass can invite a Shinto God, and also to keep evil spirits away. Rice dumplings are offered in appreciation for the harvest of grains.
Dumpling's shape represents the full moon. And when you decorate them, it is a good way to pile up 15 dumplings in pyramid shape, because Jyugo-ya is the fifteenth of August.
Eating dumplings is treated as being given the power of the moon and will bring fortune and health.
What is "Jyusan-ya"?
As a Japanese original tradition, people celebrate "Jyusan-ya" as well as "Jyugo-ya".
Jyusan-ya (十三夜 - thirteen night) is the night of September 13th on Chinese calendar, so it is about a month later from "Jyugo-ya". This is a celebration for the end of harvest season.
Actually, in Japan, people say that it is better to enjoy both Otsukimi on "Jyugo-ya" and "Jyusan-ya", like a twin event. It is believed that seeing either one of the moons only will bring bad luck.
Jyusan-ya of 2021 is October 18th!
There is a dish expressing Otsukimi in Japan.
It is a noodle bowl with raw or half-done eggs. It is called Tsukimi Soba or Tsukimi Udon, depending on the kind of noodle, and these are eaten on a daily basis.
During the Tsukimi season, in addition, some fast-food chains sell Tsukimi burgers or Tsukimi pizzas as a seasonal menu item. You may be able to find Tsukimi sweets in convenience stores too!
Enjoying these seasonal meals is also fun to do in Autumn in Japan!
It is said the moon at Jyugo-ya is the most beautiful moon in a year, and Jyusan-ya' s moon is the second most. Let's enjoy Otsukimi!
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