BLOGLiterary Calendar2020.07.31

The first day of Ochugen in Kyoto "Hassaku"

August 1 is called "Hachigatsu-sakujitsu", "Hassaku" for short in Japan.

It means "first day of the month".

Speaking of Hassaku in Kyoto, it is a custom to visit people in Kagai on August 1 of the solar calendar.

Every year on Hassaku, geiko and maiko dress up and go to a teahouse or a geiji master.

It is a traditional event where people express their gratitude on a daily basis, saying things like, "Omedetousandosu (Congratulations!)" and "Yoroshuu-otano-moushimasu (Thank you)".

It is also the day that became the origin of Ochugen (Summer gift) in Kyoto, and each family starts greeting Ochugen on this day.

Also, Hassaku in the old calendar is around the middle of September, which is the time when ears of early-ripening rice begin to bear fruit.

In 2020, September 17 falls on Hassaku in the old calendar.

It is said that there was a custom among farmers to present hatsuho to those who provided favors.

It is also called "Tanomi no Sekku" because people thanked the god of rice fields for the first harvest and prayed for a good harvest.

It is said that Ochugen has been transformed from "Tanomi (the fruit of a rice field)" into "Tanomi (request)".

By the way, don't you feel your mouth becomes sour and juicy when you hear "Hassaku"?

The fruit, Hassaku, was discovered by accident at Jodo-ji Temple in Hiroshima Prefecture during the Edo period.

It is said that the priest said "It can be eaten around Hassaku." which is the origin of the name.

Of course, Hassaku does not appear around the time of Hassaku today, and the best time to eat Hassaku is mainly from February to April.

I hope that this year, when traditional events are cancelled and scaled down one after another, will be a rich and fruitful day.


*It seems that the "Hassaku" event will not be held in Gokamachi in 2020 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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