Today is too many days

Going backwards in time from most recently instated, today is:

Children's Day (こどもの日): Nationwide public holiday and the end of Golden Week. We are also supposed to appreciate our mothers on this day. Thanks, mum!

The Boy's Festival (端午の節句): Apparently, the word 端午 (tango) -- literally "Beginning Horse", perhaps -- originally referred the fifth day of any given lunar month (the fifth day being the first Horse day in the month), and the の節句 (no sekku, roughly "seasonal festival") was later added to distinguish between all these other tangos and the one that occurs on the fifth month of each year, which is specifically the Boy's Festival. Clear?

So the carp streamers and things are not really for the postwar Children's Day itself, but rather for the older festival, Boy's Day. This is why you see them referred to in old sayings like the one Wikipedia helpfully mentions:

Edokko wa gogatsu no koi no fukinagashi, kuchisaki bakari de harawata wa nashi
Edo folks are May carp streamers, all mouth and no guts

Zing! That's a 5-7-5-8-7 syllable structure, by the way. I'm not sure if it's a senryuu + explanatory comment or a satirical tanka. (And do I dare hope that the rhyme is intentional?)

And finally, this year, today is also the beginning of the calendar section after Kokuu -- namely, 立夏 (rikka), which means "Summer Begins". Yes! It is now officially summer in Japan. Cicadae who do not start going min min, jiit jiit or at the very least kanakanakana as of this evening are liable to heavy penalties.

The three subseasons of Rikka would be:

  1. 蛙始鳴, kaeru hajimete naku: Frogs Begin to Call. (Or, in China, 螻蝈鳴, which Wikipedia says means the same thing except it specifies tree frogs.)
  2. 蚯蚓出, kyuuin izuru: Worms Come Out.
  3. 竹笋生, chikukan shouzu: Bamboo Shoots Emerge. (Or, in China, 王瓜生, which means "王瓜 Emerge/Begin to Grow/etc." I'm not sure but I think those are called "snake gourds" in English.)

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Finally, a No-sword post that covers the noises Cicadae make in Japanese, both primary and secondary. I knew it had to happen someday, but now that the day has come, I'm not sure that I was totally prepared.


Hey there!

You can find more detailed explanation for what 端午 means in the wikipedia:

In English, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Boat

In Japanese,http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%AB%AF%E5%8D%88



i had no idea japanese people had a 端午 holiday as well, tho it seems like, as is with the new year, it falls on the particular day in the solar calendar instead of the lunar.

i guess it's needless to say what chinese people do on the 端午 holiday, since duncan provided a wiki link, but as a child, i'd always learned that it was tied to the suicide of the poet qu yuan (tho the wiki explanation of him is a bit inaccurate).


Yeah, the Japanese shifted all their "Xth day of the Xth month" holidays over to the solar calendar months at some point, putting them out of step with China I guess.

I linked to that Japanese entry! ;) I also had a link to the English entry for "Tango no Sekku", but then even as I was writing the post some nong merged it with "Kodomo no Hi" and I frankly couldn't be arsed sorting out that mess. Maybe later, when all the English speakers have forgotten about Kodomo no Hi again. In the meantime, if you want to know what they eat and tie to the roof (respectively) on Tango no Sekku in Japan, look for the lost paragraph in Kodomo no Hi.

I didn't know they did the dragon boat race thing in China, though. Interesting.

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