The Japanese Floral Calendar

The Japanese Floral Calendar

by Ernest W. Clement



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The Japanese Floral Calendar by Ernest W. Clement

From the Introduction:

THE JAPANESE are a nature-loving people and frequently give practical expression to their feelings by taking a holiday simply for "flower-viewing." At the proper season, the entire nation, so to speak, takes a day off and turns out on a big picnic, to see the plum blossoms, or the cherry blossoms, or the maples, or the chrysanthemums. No utilitarian views of the value of time or miserly conceptions of the expense of such outings prevail for a moment; for the Japanese are worshippers of beauty rather than of the "almighty dollar." A few pennies on such occasions bring many pleasures, and business interests are sacrificed at the shrine of beauty. And, as one or more flowers are blooming every month, there is almost a continuous round of such picnics during the year. Having lived in Japan for some time, it is my purpose, therefore, to tell my American countrymen something of the flower or flowers popular each month, with some folk-lore, poems, or other description thereof and have it illustrated by pictures. But first we must call attention to the fact, that the Japanese word hana includes, not only a "flower" or "blossom" according to our conceptions, but also twigs, leaves, grasses, etc., so that the pine, the maple, and even the snow may come into this category.

We are confronted at the very outset with a chronological difficulty in presenting this subject to Western readers. For the programme of Japanese floral festivals was originally arranged on the basis of the old lunar calendar, so long in vogue in Japan. By that calendar the New Year came in about the 21st of January to the 18th of February; so that it was from three to seven weeks behind the Occidental solar calendar. For instance, the following is a floral programme according to the "old style":

First month (about February) Pine.

Second month (about March) Plum.

Third month (about April) Cherry.

Fourth month (about May) Wistaria.

Fifth month (about June) Iris.

Sixth month (about July) Tree peony.

Seventh month(about August) Lespedeza.

Eighth month (about September) Eularia.

Ninth month (about October) Chrysanthemum.

Tenth month (about November) Maple.

Eleventh month (about December) Willow.

Twelfth month (about January) Paullownia.

But when Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar, many of the floral festivals were transferred to the new style without regard to the awful anachronism that followed. In the case of the pine, which is chosen for the first month on account of the prominent part that it plays in the New Year's decorations, it makes no special difference whether the New Year begins January 1 or February 18. But in many other cases the calendar suffers serious dislocation, because some of the "flowers" cannot conveniently be moved back a month or more. The autumn full moon, too, in whose festival certain blossoms figured, cannot be arbitrarily hurried up. Hence, it is rather difficult for the flowers of Old Japan to run on the new Occidental schedule.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781502385406
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 09/15/2014
Pages: 72
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.15(d)

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