Saturday, January 14, 2006

Happy Koshogatsu

I have a diary schedule book that tells me the days for different holidays around the world, but because it is from Japan each month has a slight blurb about something special in Japan.
This month is:

January 15, 2006.
Lunar New
Year, called ‘Koshogatsu’, is on January 15. Festivals to pray for a bountiful
harvest and banish bad spirits are held, along with fire festivals, and in some
places people put up rice cakes flowers.

Not enough info for me so research was requited. This is what I have found:

In A.D. 604, the lunar calendar used in China was adopted for
use by the Japanese government. This calendar had both a lunar component which
regulated civic events and a solar component which was used for agricultural

The new moon marked the beginning of
the official months but date discrepancies existed between official celebrations
and folk celebrations. Using the lunar calendar the New Year was to begin at the
second new moon after the winter solstice. This was the "Great New Year" or
shogatsu. At the full moon two weeks later, there was another celebration called
"Little New Year" or koshogatsu. Traditionally, these dates would occur sometime
from the end of January to the middle of February. However, when the government
adopted the Gregorian calendar, shogatsu became associated with the first day of
January and koshogatsu fell on the 15th of January.

I searched but I couldn’t find any reference to festivals or actual bonfires being held.
From what I can tell from my students:
Most Japanese people go to the shrines to pray for the New Year during the first few days of Shogatsu. At this time they bring back last years good luck charms and buy new charms. These charms are for family health, safe driving, and general safety. The returned charms are collected by the priests and fro what I can tell, are all burned in a giant fire on Koshogatsu. This link has some pictures explaining this a little better.
Tondo Matsuri

So Happy Koshogatsu Everyone!!

Illahee just left this link in the comments section and it is great!
I never even thought of checking flickr, duh!

Update 2:
Today’s Blessings:
- Li worked last night and today as well but he woke up an hour early so that I could go food shopping with out Ji. (No car and it is raining) Made the rest of the day hassle free.
- Li and I were able to trim Ji’s nails with out a single scream. Actually this is a bloody miracle as nail trimming usually results in a total melt down by Ji.

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