Bebe Taian: Jinjitsu, or Nanakusa no Sekku

January 7, 2012

Jinjitsu, or Nanakusa no Sekku

Kuniyoshi - "Jinjitsu", from
'Onna gori goshiki no hana kago'
Nanakusa no Sekku, "Feast of the Seven Herbs", is also known as Jinjitsu- "Human Day".

It is a Japanese holiday that once took place on the 7th day of the 1st Lunar Month, which this year would be on Jan. 30th. However, because of foreign influence on Japan, it was moved to the solar calendar date during the Meiji era, much the same way New Years' Day was moved.

Nanakusa no Sekku is one of five seasonal holidays called 'gosekku'.

It is said that during the first seven days of the first month, new important beings were created, one for each day. The first day, the Gods made the rooster, followed by the dog, the sheep, the boar, the ox (or bull), the horse, and finally, humans. To celebrate the completion of this cycle, a feast is thrown every year. On the day of the individual creations, it is taboo to kill or harm that creature. So, no roosters will be slaughtered on the first day, and likewise, no punishments are given to criminals on the seventh day. This custom comes from a Chinese holiday called 'Renri'.

On this day, Nanakusa-gayu is eaten. Just Hungry has a great recipe for this! Supposedly, eating nanakusa-gayu is medicinal in nature, and can also bring good health, protection from illnesses, and keep away evil spirits. Prayers for these things may be said on this day while eating it. The seven herbs used in the soup are usually seri, nazuna, gogyō, hakobe, hotokenza, suzuna, and suzushiro, but other combinations are used in different regions.

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