Have you heard of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Japan? Have you ever tried moon viewing? Let us learn about this exciting festival in Japan in September.
The Mid-Autumn Festival, known as Tsukimi in Japan, is a traditional Japanese celebration that takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, which usually falls in September or early October.
The festival revolves around the appreciation of the full moon and its beauty. People gather in open spaces, decorate it with paper lanterns, pampas grass, and seasonal flowers, and enjoy special foods like Tsukimi Dango and other seasonal delicacies. Tsukimi is also a time for expressing gratitude for the harvest, connecting with nature, and celebrating the changing seasons in Japan.
What Happens During Tsukimi?
During Tsukimi or the Japanese Moon Viewing Festival, several traditional customs and activities celebrate the full moon and autumn. Here’s what typically happens during Tsukimi:
Moon Viewing: The central activity of Tsukimi is moon viewing. People gather in open spaces, such as gardens, parks, or near bodies of water, to admire the full moon. They often sit on cushions or low tables while enjoying the moon’s beauty.
Decorations: Homes and outdoor spaces are adorned with traditional ornaments including paper lanterns (chouchin), pampas grass (susuki), and autumn flowers such as bush clover (hagi). These decorations are to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.
Tsukimi Dango: These are special rice dumplings or balls often arranged in sets to represent the moon. They are typically offered to the moon or enjoyed as a seasonal snack. These dangos are primarily white and sometimes served with a sweet soy sauce glaze.
Food: Various seasonal foods are served during Tsukimi. These may include chestnuts, persimmons, taro, and different types of autumn vegetables.
Folklore and Traditions: Tsukimi is associated with many folktales and legends, and the festival has regional variations. Some traditions involve making rice dumplings in the shape of rabbits to celebrate the moon rabbit from folklore.
Activities: People often recite traditional Japanese poetry and songs celebrating the moon’s beauty. Poetry recitation is usually done during moon viewing, adding to the cultural and artistic aspects of the festival.
Appreciation of Nature and Culture
Aside from the celebration of Tsukimi, people show appreciation of nature. It is said to be a time to appreciate the beauty of the moon and the natural world. It provides an opportunity for reflection and a connection to the cycles of nature. Celebrations like this make us reconnect with our surroundings and families and appreciate our lives beauty. Family and friends come together to celebrate, similar to Thanksgiving.
In conclusion, Tsukimi is a time-honored Japanese festival that combines elements of cultural, culinary, and natural appreciation, making it a special occasion for people to come together and celebrate the beauty of the autumn moon
Would you like to see the beauty of the moon? Which activities do you find interesting and what would you try first? Share it with us!