Most of us think of holidays as one of those few days our employer actually pays us to stay home. We all know the big ones: New Year's, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas. And yes, some employers are a little more generous but most likely you'll have no more than 7 days a year that you consider a holiday. Depending on your religious beliefs you may add a few more to that annual list, and find that you're up to a dozen or so.
For a day to be considered a "National Holiday" it needs to be declared so by Congress. And then of course we have the "commercial holidays" that we all love, which in effect are simply days that have become popular over the years. We all love them, but for some of us that just isn't enough. Organizations, corporation, and even loosely connected groups of people can "declare" a day for any reason they choose. Some of these days catch on and become popular with the general population, some remain only recognized by their creator, and some fizzle out and become a mere memory after only a year or two.
The point is - Every day, somewhere someone is celebrating something.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Festival of Seven Herbs ~ January 7

Nanakusa no sekku

I'm not Japanese so bear with me.  I've found a couple different versions (names of the festive and of the food eaten) but it's basically the same so if I get it a little mixed up please forgive me.  One site I found called this day the "festival of the young herbs" or Wakana-setsu.  It was also referred to as Jin-jitsu or "Man (human) Day".  So, you do understand the confusion.

They all agreed that the tradition of the day is to eat a rice porridge that contains the seven herbs or grasses pictured above.  They are Japanese parsley, shepherd's purse, jersey cudweed, chickweed, henbit, turnip, and daikon.

The dish, nanakusa gayu, looks a bit bland to me,

but the belief is that eating it will bring you health and longevity.

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