月見 (Tsukimi)

Tsukimi (月見), sometimes “otsukimi” with the honorific ‘o’, is the Japanese moon-viewing festival. The festival is held in September and October.  According to Wikipedia, “The celebration of the full moon typically takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the traditional Japanese lunisolar calendar; the waxing moon is celebrated on the 13th day of the ninth month. These days normally fall in September and October of the modern solar calendar.” I don’t know much about these calendars but, when I asked my students when the event took place, no one could give me an exact date anyway.

The key elements to the festival are Japanese pampas grass (susuki), rice dumplings (tsukimi dango), and rabbits. Rabbits? Yes. Why?  Well… you know how most people in western countries believe there is a man in the moon? In Japan, the common belief is that there are rabbits. And what do the rabbits do on the moon? They pound it. Why? Because the moon is not made of cheese, no, it’s made of mochi. At least, that’s the story as far as I’ve heard it.  I like this story. I think it’s kind of cute. 😉

Japan is very focussed on its seasons and, right now, when you go into a shop selling cards (like Loft, for example), you can see lots of cards and stickers decorated with rabbits, moons, etc.

This is a photo of a postcard I bought, showing Japanese pampas grass in front of a full moon. There are also rice dumplings places on a ‘sanbo’. Traditional families sometimes have a display like this in their homes.

Happy moon-viewing, everyone! 😀

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