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Moonlight Party “Otukimi”

Posted by: anave | September 29, 2009 Comments Off |

Maybe you’ve heard of hanami, the Japanese custom where people go to see the cherry blossoms. In March and April when the cherry trees are in full bloom, people go to hanami with family, colleagues, or friends. They sit under the cherry trees, drink sake, sing songs and enjoy the coming of spring. Japanese enjoy watching the changing of the one season into the nest, so we have several customs in each season.
In the fall, as the days become shorter, we feel the moon becomes more beautiful. Historically, Japanese showed their appreciation for the autumn evenings by observing the full moon in August of the lunar calendar, a custom called otsukimi. We call the night Jyugoya (十五夜) and the moon Chusyu no Meigetsu (中秋の名月). People put sake, dango (sweet dumplings) and Japanese pampas grass by their windows that night. Jyugoya is said to originate from a festival held to pray for a good harvest in China. A month later, we have Jyusanya (十三夜). This is said to have begun when Japanese nobles gathered together and wrote a poem while looking up at the moon in 8th century. This was then incorporated into the Chinese Jyugoya, and developed into the current otsukimi.
The date is according to the lunar calendar, so it changes every year. This year’s otsukimi will be Saturday, October 3rd, when the moon is supposedly at its fullest and roundest. If you look to the sky that night, you will see the glorious full moon. This love of and sensitivity to nature has been a major part of Japanese culture for many centuries.
On the other hand, there are interesting differences between Japanese and Western culture when it comes to the moon. The werewolf transforms when he looks at the moon, and witches have black mass on full moon nights; the moon is not necessarily a symbol of beauty, but instead is sometimes considered disturbing in Western culture.
To celebrate the coming of autumn and enjoy the moonlight, JSSL is offering a Moonlight Party on campus, on October 2nd, Friday. We will provide Tsukimi Dango, and there will be frisbee, cards, shogi and go by moonlight. Please come eat Tsukimi Dango and enjoy a still autumn night with us!
Moonlight Party
October 2nd, Friday
from 7:30pm
@Quad at Willamette University
お月見.jpg
Photo by SPACE ALC
More about Otsukimi: Otukimi Events in Tokyo
AstroArts: [特集]月を見よう

under: Culture

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