Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shunbun no hi

Shunbun no hi or vernal equinox is the day when there is twelve hours of darkness and twelve hours of sunlight.  The origins of the holiday date back to the eighth century when it was originally called Shunki kōreisai, an event relating to Shintoism. It became a public holiday and was renamed in 1948. Like other Japanese holidays, this holiday was repackaged as a non-religious holiday for the sake of separation of religion and state. Many Japanese visit their family tombs on this day to pay their respects to their ancestors. People weed their family tombs, and leave flowers, incense and ohagi (sweet rice balls covered with red bean paste). It is tradition that ancestors' spirits prefer round food.

Happy Spring!
Mill Hill kit - cross stitch and beads on perforated paper, completed 2006

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