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WHEN EAST MEETS WEST: Moon-viewing :The "Day of the Chrysanthemum."

The Moon as seen by an observer from Earth. So...Image via Wikipedia


Commentary by Hank F. Miller jr.
This seasonal festival is also known as the"day of double yang."Nine is the largest of the numbers, which,being doubled on this date,makes it an especially auspicious day.Because this is the season when mums are in bloom,they are used for decorations while drinks are being poured.Another ritual associated with this day was the practice of wiping the skin with a piece of cotton cloth dampened by the evening dew taken from the chrysanthemums.These customs,were celebrated up until the middle ages,and thus are not given much attention these days in Japan.In China,however the custom continues to be to climb a hill on the ourskirts of town to have a picnic with family members or with close friends together.The day's signsficance is reflected in a homophonic pair of words kyukyu"nine-nine" and"enduring peace."

A moon viewing party is usually held also in the middle of September when the air is clear and the moon is at its most beautiful.This traditional custom is said to have origionated from farmers' religious observances to ensure a good harvest.People used to make offerings to the full moon,such as rice dumplings,a variety of seasional fruit and vegetables with Japanese pampas grass and bush of clovers, and pray for the realization of their wishes.More often than not,friends were invited to join in this pleasent event and admire the beautiful moon.

Moon viewing also created a poetic atmosphere.

Court nobles and men of high standard often enjoyed composing short poems,while looking at the full moon.Moon viewing today is not as refined as before,but the Japanese still get together about this time of year and appreciate the beauty and serenity of the moon,while chatting ,eating and drinking and singing songs.We also here at home we also celebrate moon viewing,we are situated on a mountainside with mountains all around.Our area does have street lights but they are considerably smallar then at home in Gloucester city,the lights are not located so close together so it makes it a bit dark.Thus we can also enjoy seeing the millions of stars very clearly from our garden and we put on a barbecue and have a nice time in the cool evening with friends,enjoying the view.  
Warm Regards from Kitakyushu City, Japan
Hank F Miller jr. 


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