Today I would like to talk about a Japanese culture called “Tsukimi”!
First, Tsukimi is written in Kanji as “お月見”.
月(Tsuki) means moon.
見(mi) means view.
In other words, Tsukimi means “moon-viewing”.
It is also known as 十五夜(Jugoya).
十五(Jugo) means the number 15 and 夜(ya) means night.
It’s an event to see the moon on the night of August 15th of the Japanese lunar calendar!
*By the way, August 15 on the Japanese lunar calendar is roughly between September and October on the modern solar calendar.
When did Otsukimi originate?
Otsukimi began about 1,000 years ago.
It began when people gathered at a place with a clear view of the moon on a full moon night and offered seasonal foods.
Mainly, chestnuts and potatoes were dedicated to the shrine.
What do you offer for tsukimi?
They also decorated it with silver grass, which resembles ears of rice, in hopes of a bountiful rice harvest.
And the indispensable dango.
*Dango is a sweet rice cake made from rice flour.
Shape it round like a full moon and serve it like a pyramid.
It is believed that the tip of the Dango led to the spirit world, and through the Dango, gratitude for the harvest was conveyed to the moon.
Nowadays, it has been simplified and many households decorate only with silver grass and Dango.
Moon pattern, what does it look like in Japan?
In Japan, the pattern of the moon is said to look like “a rabbit making rice cakes”.
There’s an old Japanese tale about a god who resurrected a rabbit to the moon!
I was curious and surfed the net and I found out that the “moon pattern looks different” in different parts of the world.
What do the patterns on the moon look like in your country?