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The 72 Seasons - May

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The 72 Seasons - May

May 1, 2022

In Japan, there are 72 subdivisions seasons called the shichijuni kou. The 72 seasons are named after the birds, insects, plants, and weather of each changes in nature every five days.

The frogs that awakened in early spring are beginning to croak energetically in the rice paddies and small ponds.

May 5th is Tango-no Sekku, a day to wish for the growth of boys. On this day, hoist carp streamers, eat chimaki, and bathe in iris (Japanese iris) to ward off evil spirits.

May 5–9    蛙始鳴 Kawazu hajimete naku    Frogs start singing
May 10–14    蚯蚓出 Mimizu izuru    Worms surface
May 15–20    竹笋生 Takenoko shōzu    Bamboo shoots sprout
May 21–25    蚕起食桑 Kaiko okite kuwa o hamu Silkworms start feasting on mulberry leaves
May 26–30    紅花栄 Benibana sakau Safflowers bloom
May 31–June 5    麦秋至 Mugi no toki itaru Wheat ripens and is harvested

蛙始鳴 Frogs start singing

The frogs that awakened in early spring are beginning to croak energetically in the rice paddies and small ponds.

蚯蚓出 Worms surface

Earthworms cultivate the soil, in Japan, they call them "nature's hoe”. Worms hatch in the spring and become fully active in the summer.

竹笋生 Bamboo shoots sprout

Bamboo shoots are usually made with rice, soup, wakatake stew, and sashimi. The crispy texture and the subtle aroma of the wild bamboo make for a full-fledged appetite.

蚕起食桑 Silkworms start feasting on mulberry leaves

Silkworms eat only fresh mulberry leaves, and they have voracious appetites. At this time, farmers are so busy taking care of the silkworms.

紅花栄 Safflowers bloom

The safflower is bright yellow when it first blooms, but gradually becomes redder as it grows. Safflower has been used as a dye since the time of ancient Egypt. It was introduced to Japan via the Silk Road and spread throughout the country. Safflower is the prefectural flower of Yamagata Prefecture.

麦秋至 Wheat ripens and is harvest

In this season, the wheat fields can be clearly seen from a distance, as they are dotted with golden fields amidst the rice paddies filled with water. The early summer, when wheat is ready for harvest, is called "Mugi-Autumn," and after wheat harvesting comes rice planting, which is a busy time for farmers. The rainy season will soon begin.

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