Higanbana is blooming in Aso. Equinox Day mean something special in Japan.

Hello everyone, how are you?

A strong typhoon “Nanmadol” had passed. She took all the heat with her.
I felt cool this morning, pulled a jacket out. It was 14℃ !

There is an old saying in Japan that coldness or warmness is over after “Higan”.  

“Higan” is a Buddism event held twice a year in spring and fall to respect and thank our ancestors.
“Higan” custom started in 7th century, it is very traditional and unique event in Japan.

“Higan” is for 7 days technically. The middle day is the most important, and it is always the equinox day.

In Buddhism thought, the heaven is at the far end of west.
Ancient people knew that sun rise from east and set in west exactly on Equinox Day and they must have felt the Buddhism heaven closer on these days.

Today is the 1st day of “Higan” period in fall.
Autumnal Equinox Day is on Sep. 23rd this year.

People clean their family cemetery, decorate it with the flowers.
The popular food of Higan in fall is Ohagi, which is sweet sticky rice ball wrapped with sweetened steamed red beans paste.

I remember that I made so many Ohagi with my grandma at Higan when I was a little girl.
I liked her recipe, it was sweet but also a little salty.
Maybe I should try grandma’s recipe with my daughter again.

We can get Mochigome (special rice to make Mochi/rice cake), and Azuki (red beans) here at Michi no Eki Aso.

One more thing I would like to introduce regarding “Higan” is this flower.

They bloom always in this season, so they are called “ Higan bana”
(Higan flower).

Another name is very Buddhism, “Manjyushage” means “flowers bloom in heaven” in old Indian language.

We see them a lot by the rice field or cemetery.

The flower is bright red and beautiful but also it looks poisonous, doesn’t it?

Maybe because I know they are poisonous.

Flowers and stems are not bad, but their roots are poisonous.
Farmers used to put them around the rice field or cemetery on purpose to protect their rice and food from mice and moles.

They have many interesting aspects, but honestly I just love to see these pretty flowers with view of Aso in this season.

It is beautiful time of the year to be outside and enjoy nature.
We are looking forward to seeing you soon in Aso!



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