ご挨拶 Greetings

ご挨拶 「 松過 -まつすぎ- 」 小寒 Greeting Matsu-Sugi Lesser cold* in 2023




あたらしき年のはじめの初春の けふふる雪のいやしけよごと
                               (古今和歌集 大伴家持)

新しい年の初め 初春の今日降る雪のように



Happy New Year!  2023 is the year of the “Water Rabbit (癸卯)” in the Japanese zodiac.  The year of “Water Rabbit” is said to be less cold than before and something great will happen.  I hope the year will be the road to a future, peaceful and healthy.

The New Year’s decoration using pine and bamboo is called Kadomatsu and is put at the entrance until 7 January in Kanto region and until 15 January in Kansai region.  The period when the Kadomatsu decorated is called “Matsu-no-uchi (松の内).”

After Matsu-no-uchi, it is called Matsu-sugi (松過: literally passing pine), and we put the decorations away and return to normal life but there is still the scent of New Year.  In the solar calendar, “Matsu-sugi” is the end of the “Lesser cold” period when three weeks have passed after the Winter solstice and you may notice that the day is getting longer.  It is also getting brighter day by day, and gradually we can find the sign of the next season.

Atarashiki     Toshi no Hajime no     Hatsu-haru no
Kefu furu yuki no     Iya Shike Yogoto
Written by Otomo no Yakamochi from Kokin Waka shu

Meaning: At the beginning of the year
Like snow which falls today
Hope great things happen one right after another

In ancient times, the snow at the beginning of the year is the sign of good luck.  Hope wonderful things happen in succession this year.

*Lesser cold: The traditional East Asian calendars divide a year into 24 solar terms. “Lesser cold” is the 23rd solar term and starts from 6 January.



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