Chushu no Meigetsu – Contemplate the Autumn Moon
Last night was Chushu no Meigetsu (中秋の名月) in Japan. Ancient Japanese people as old as Jomon era (縄文時代, 14,000-300BC), Japanese people had a special admiration for the moon and like to contemplate it. During Heian period (平安時代, 794-1185), the custom of contemplating the full moon came from China and became a Japanese tradition.
According to the lunar calendar, Chushu (in the middle of autumn) was the 15th of August and this is why Japanese people also call this day, Juugoya (十五夜), the night of the 15th although now they celebrate on the Gregorian Calendar.
Since Japan no longer use the Lunar calendar as a daily bases, not all Chushu nights are the full moon night. Unfortunately this year, it was a day before the full moon in Japan. When the Chushu night is the full moon, it is called Shuchu no Meigetsu and people appreciate even more. By the way next Chushu no Meigetsu is 2021.
Usually people prepare Tsukimi Dango (月見団子), which imitate the round full moon. By eating this, people wished for their health, happiness or dreams fulfilled.
Luckily, tonight is the full moon. So you are not late, prepare Tsukimi Dango with rice flour and get some Susuki (ススキ/ Japanese pampas grass) if you could. That´s it. You just need to wait for the night to fall, sit and contemplate the moon.
Don´t forget to check if you can see a rabbit in the moon!
More Japanese traditions