“Otsukimi” is an event to watch the moon at night on a day, called “Chooshoo no meigetsu.” Then, what is “Chooshoo no meigetsu” ? It is a day when we enjoy the moon viewing on August 15th by the lunar calendar. However, the present calendar is the solar calendar. It means the middle of autumn, and it is in September last 4 years but it is in October in 2017. On the day, we enjoy its brightness and roundness, of course the full moon.
By the way, the root of “Otsukimi” is unknown. One oral tradition is that it is a “satoimo” harvest festival in China. Chinese has a custom to eat “satoimo” which is a kind of potatoes. And this custom has come to Japan from Nara era to Heian era (the 8th ～ the 11th century).
Nowadays we make offerings which are “Otsukimi dango” and “Susuki” while we enjoy watching the moon at home. It has some varieties. One of them is the simplest white dumplings. Others are the ones with sweet beans which is called “azuki,” the one with soy bean powder which is called “kinako,” and so on. “Susuki” is called silver grass in English. There is an oral tradition that we don’t take any bad diseases.
Talking about the moon, in Japan, most people say that there is a rabbit in the moon. Some people say that 2 rabbits are doing “mochi-tsuki” which means making Japaneses race cake, called “mochi.” There are many opinions about the depicted things. For examples, in Asia, there are many places which people believe there are rabbits making Japaneses race cake or even herbs. In the south Europe, people see it as the crabs.
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