第23番目 【小寒(しょうかん)】

No. 23 [Shokan]

24 solar terms 23rd


"The onset of cold"
It's about to get even colder.

The 30 days between ``Shokan'' in late winter and ``Daikan'' in the next seasonal season are called ``Kan no Uchi.''
When the cold weather ends, it is the beginning of spring.
Spring is here according to the calendar.

In [Kokan], we will continue to spend the new year's [Matsunouchi] [Ko New Year].

[From New Year's preparations to closing]

In [Kokan], we will continue to spend the new year's [Matsunouchi] [Ko New Year].

Currently, the period from New Year's Day to January 7th (Matsunouchi) is generally called New Year's Day.

<Three days> January 1st to 3rd <Matsunouchi> January 4th to 7th <Little New Year> January 15th

After the Little New Year, the series of New Year's customs and events come to an end.

We would like to introduce the customs and events of the [Kosamu] period.

1. [Kanku water] Kanku water

The period after the 9th day of the cold season is called ``Kan-ku'', and ``Kan-ku'' is said to be ``the clearest day of the year''.

It is said that ``the water drawn on this day will not rot'', and since ancient times it has been believed that ``Kanku no Mizu'' has medicinal and spiritual powers.

The sake brewed during this period is considered special, and the rice cakes made by cooking rice in cold water are called kanmochi and are said to be good for health.
In addition, the belief that spiritual power will be bestowed upon contact with cold water has been passed down to the present day, and those who devote themselves to ascetic practices during this period will cover themselves with water to get rid of water, or perform rough acts such as being hit by a waterfall. I will do it.
It takes on various forms, and water-related events such as ``water fetching'' and ``cold swimming'' are held all over the country every year from ``Kokan'' to the 9th holiday.

The wisdom of our ancestors has long been passed down as a way to maintain good health, such as ``starting with a glass of water in the morning.'' These days, such good health methods have been scientifically explained.

2. [Jinji Festival] January 7th

Jinbi no Sekku is one of the five seasonal festivals, and is the first festival after the new year.

In ancient times, in Japan there was a practice called ``Wakana-zumi'', in which young greens were picked at the beginning of the year to receive new life from the natural world. After the ``origin of seven herbs'' was introduced from China, the current Nanakusa porridge was created.

The origin of the human day can be found in an ancient Chinese book called ``Jing Chu Saijiki.''
According to this, January 1st is chicken day, 2nd day is dog day, 3rd day is sheep day, 4th day is boar day, 5th day is cow day, 6th day is horse day, 7th day is human day, 8th day is grain day. There were such rules. For this reason, January 7th came to be called ``Jin-hi,'' and you can see the description that ``On Jin-hi, people eat hot soup with seven kinds of young greens.'' This is the origin of the name "nanakusa porridge."

There are seven types of spring herbs: Seri, Nazuna, Gogyo, Hakobera, Hotokenoza, Suzuna, and Suzushiro.
It's a logical porridge that soothes the stomach and intestines tired from overeating and drinking during New Year's Day, and also replenishes the vitamins that tend to be deficient in winter.

3. [Hakuba Festival (Amaou no Sechie)]

Before January 7th was established as the ``Jinji no Sekku'', a festival event called ``Aouma no Sechie'' was held at the imperial court since the Nara period.

What is [Hakuba Festival]?

Annual court events. On the 7th day of the New Year, the Emperor views a white horse called Aouma, which is said to ward off misfortune, and holds a banquet.

It was introduced to Japan through a Chinese legend that says, ``Seeing a green horse will ward off evil spirits,'' and it is connected to the custom of warding off evil spirits throughout the year and the Japanese idea of ​​exorcism.

Why is "Hakuba" pronounced "Aouma"?

At first, as written in the legend, it is thought that he drew a horse with reedy hair that was close to blue, or a horse that was gray in color. Even in the Manyoshu, a black horse appears as a blue horse. Gradually, the color ``white'' came to be valued, and Hakuba came to be used, and the pronunciation of ``Aouma'' remained as ``Hakuba.''
This event is still held as a Shinto ritual at Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto and Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Osaka.

4. [Little New Year] January 15th

"Koshogatsu" refers to a series of events that conclude the New Year's holiday, which begins with preparations for the end of the year, continues through New Year's Day, and ends in Matsunouchi.

[Koshogatsu] is the day to put away the decorations, yorishiro, battledore, etc. that have been prepared since the beginning of the New Year (December 13th) and have been displayed during the New Year. Bonfires (fire festivals) called ``Dondo-yaki'' are held at shrines all over the country.

What is [Dontoyaki]?

This is an event in which shimenawa, pine decorations, calligraphy, and other items decorated to welcome Toshigami (the god of Toshigami) on New Year's Day are brought to the precincts or plazas of local shrines and burned to send the god to the heavens.

The fire that rises at this time is said to purify impurities, and people in the area pray for the misfortunes of the past year, pray for a good harvest, prosperous business, safety for the family, good health, prosperity for descendants, and warding off evil spirits.

[Dontoyaki legend]

- Exposure to the warmth of the Dondoyaki fire will keep you healthy and rejuvenated for a year. - Eating rice cakes and dumplings baked in the Dondoyaki will prevent you from getting sick for a year. - The paper you burned during the Dondoyaki will fly high in the sky. When you soar, your handwriting improves and your schoolwork also improves.
・Take the ashes home and scatter them around your house to ward off evil spirits and misfortune.

Dondoyaki is held not only to dispose of New Year's decorations, but also to watch the bonfires lit in front of the gods and Buddha, and the sound of exploding bamboo is said to ward off misfortune. This is an event that brings us various blessings through the purified flame. One of the New Year's culture that has been passed down since ancient times.

In addition, during the Small New Year, there is a custom of eating red bean porridge to ward off evil spirits for the year and to pray for good health.

5. Food for the New Year - Red bean porridge

[Azuki beans] have been believed to be effective for a long time, so much so that they are described in China's oldest medical book, Bencao, as ``killing demon poisons and stopping pain,'' and the red color of azuki beans is also said to be ``adzuki beans that ward off evil spirits.'' It has been said. It is introduced as a ceremonial food during New Year's holidays and the winter solstice, but it is also a food that can be actively incorporated for health and beauty reasons.

●Vitamin B1, which is abundant in adzuki beans, has the ability to support carbohydrate metabolism. It also promotes lactic acid metabolism and supports recovery from fatigue.
●Ingredients rich in potassium. It excretes sodium (salt) taken into the body and helps prevent swelling.
●Contains a lot of dietary fiber. Effective against constipation. It also has the effect of regulating the intestinal environment.
It is also rich in polyphenols, iron, and isoflavones, and can be expected to have beneficial effects for women, including diet, beautiful skin, and prevention of lifestyle-related diseases.

5. Coming of Age Day – January 9th

According to the national holiday law, the purpose of this day is to "celebrate young people who realize that they have become adults and are trying to survive on their own."

Ceremonies for recognizing children as full-fledged adults have been held since ancient times not only in Japan but all over the world, and in any country or land, coming of age ceremonies are considered important milestones in life. Masu.

There is a word called ``ceremonial occasion'' , and ``kan'' means Genpuku = coming-of-age ceremony , followed by weddings, funerals, and ancestral festivals, which have been considered the most important in Japan since ancient times. It is considered a ritual.

Last year (April 2022), the Civil Code was revised and the age of majority changed from 20 to 18. As a result, the name ``Coming of Age Ceremony'' was changed to ``20 Years Old Gathering'' or ``Hatachi Celebration Party.'' Currently, it is common to hold the event at the age of 20, but this may change depending on the local government in the future.

Throughout history, many traditional cultures and events have undergone various changes depending on the times and environment, including legal revisions . Of course, there are cultures that not only change, but also fade or decline.

Culture and events live and evolve together with people's lives, so they often reflect the times, environment, and people's lives. The choice of how to utilize the culture and events that have been passed down throughout history and pass them on to the next generation and era is always left to the people living in that era. I think about this every time seasonal events and customs change.

In the Seventy-Two War of the Years, the period of [Little Cold] is expressed as follows.

First candidate <67th candidate "Serino Sakae">

Around January 6th to January 9th, 2023

Second candidate <88th candidate “Shimizu Warmth”>

From January 10th to January 15th, 2023

Last Descendant <69th Descendant "Pheasant Begins">

From January 16th to January 19th, 2023


It's getting colder and colder, and around this time we're starting to feel tired from the New Year.
Even so, it is still a season of celebration.

Nanakusa porridge and red bean porridge are warm and gentle to the body, unique to this season. Let's wait for spring while keeping our bodies warm and nourished by a rich variety of ingredients.

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