Saturday, 11 September 2010
Shuubun Aki Higan / Autumn Equinox in Japan
September is called Nagatsuki according to old calendar and it is coming from Yonagatsuki meaning the month where nights is becoming more long and that at the end of it autumn will slowly take place.
The autumn equinox is around September 23th and it is the day where the sun sets in the due west and the length of day and night are same.
The Autumn Equinox is a national holiday in Japan and it is that day where they give respect to ancestors. This Holiday is a period of seven days 3 days before the day of equinox and 3 days after it and it is called Aki-Higan. Just like Haru higan (Spring equinox) people goes to Buddhist services or visit their family graves.
On this special occasion Japanese sweets are eaten then. This sweets are Ohagi sweet dumplings made from rice and cover with red beans jam.
Japanese traditions are to put plain dumplings and flowers to Buddhist altar for the repose of the ancestors.