It’s getting cooler in the morning and night in Kyoto recently.
We can feel the beginning of the autumn although it’s still hot and humid in the afternoon.
Talking about September in Japan, we have some events such as the chrysanthemum festival, the moon watching festival, and Respect for the aged holiday.
Today, I’d like to introduce the chrysanthemum festival on September 9th, which is one of the 5 traditional festivals in Japan. In other word, it is called “Cho-yo-“, which means the double of odd number.
The Chrysanthemum festival
We have the 5 festivals in Japan in June, March, May, July, and September.
Each festival has the symbol flowers or plants, such as the pine tree, peach flowers, Iris, bamboo, and the chrysanthemum.
Chrysanthemum festival is not known very much compared to other peach or Iris festivals, but the event to wish the eternal youth and longevity is held every shrine in Kyoto on September 9th.
For example, Kamigamo shrine in the north of Kyoto city serves the Sake of chrysanthemums.
It’s not only beautiful but also has the nice fragrance.
Although it’d be more benefits from the god drinking in the shrine, we sometimes make Kiku-sake (chrysanthemum sake) at home as well.
Some people start soaking flowers in Shochu (a clear liquor) 1 month in advance. Some people just float the petals of yellow chrysanthemums on Sake. Some floats the whole flower on the wine glasses in the western style.
Let’s desolate Ikebana of chrysanthemums!
This is the formal style of Japanese Ikebana using only the white simple chrysanthemums. Actually, the very thin wires are put in the pedicles to keep the form. It’s a little difficult for beginners.
I recommend you to start from easier way “free style” or “Kosei flowers” like the photo below.
Ito-kiku (chrysanthemum), the tree of rosebay, and fern
First, cut the tree of rosebay to double of the diameter plus the depth of the vase (a).
Second, cut the tree of rosebay into 3/4 of the (a).
Third, cut the yellow Ito-kiku and ferns to 1/2 of the (a).
This is thought to be the best balance for Japanese Ikebana.
Although it’s more difficult than the above, we can throw the flowers into the cylindrical vase, too.
Have you ever seen these round ones? They are also the chrysanthemums called ping-pong. I like this pretty round shape.
Japanese sweets of chrysanthemums’ shape
Look at this pretty sweets！
It’s too pretty to eat.
This is also the sweet of chrysanthemums, but the special one called “kisewata” which means the chrysanthemums covered with the raw cotton.
The custom of Kisewata has been inherited since Heian period 8794-1192) in Kyoto Japan. We can find the description in the diary written by the author of Genji tale, Murasakishikibu.
It is believed that we can receive the benefit of the eternal youth and longevity by wiping the face and body with the cotton. People prepared the cotton on the flowers at night one day before the chrysanthemum festival, and used the cotton to wipe the body in the morning.
She was writing a short poem for the festival day.
“Touching the chrysanthemum cotton a little bit, but I’ll soon send back to you for your youth and longevity.”
Reading straightly, she was too modest to receive the high quality present from the noble lady, since her social position was not so high. But in other theory, it is said that she would like to tell the noble lady by sending back the cotton that “I’m not too old to use the raw cotton of chrysanthemums, but you need them more than me!”
Japanese old poem has deep meanings. We can see the women battle in the noble palace.
By the way, the color of the cotton is decided for each. Yellow for white flowers, white for red flowers, and red for yellow chrysanthemums.
Tea Ceremony for chrysanthemum festival!
What a beautiful tea bowl it is!
It’s one of the popular Kyoto ware exporting to Paris and many foreign countries. I think it’s suitable to the western room or life of the European countries.
I also start the tea ceremony for chrysanthemum festivals from today, September 1st.
Let’s enjoy this moment together with the beautiful seasonal utensils!