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2024.04.19
ご挨拶 Greetings

ご挨拶 「薬狩り」穀雨〜立夏 Greeting " MEDICINE HUNTING " From Grain Rain to Start of Summer*

穀雨は春の終わりに降り、大地にみのりをもたらす雨のこと。特に雨がよく降るころではありませんが、立夏を前に降る雨は、新芽を若々しい新緑へ成長させてくれます。山々は新緑に覆われ清々しい初夏の頃を迎えます。

今年の立夏は五月五日、端午の節句にあたります。五月五日に採る薬草は特に薬効があるとされ、六百十一年のこの日に推古天皇が大和の兎田野(奈良県宇陀)で「薬狩り」を催しました。その後、薬草とともに沈香や丁子などの香料を錦の袋に詰めて「薬玉(くすだま)」とし、五色の糸を垂らして飾るようになりました。この先にやってくる厳しい真夏に備えるもので、延命長寿、無病息災を願ったのでしょう。「薬玉」は、九月八日まで飾られ、翌九日の重陽には茱萸袋に替えられます。

古の人々は季節の移ろいを感じ取り、その恵みに歓び、その厳しさを畏れ、常に畏敬の念を忘れずに生きてきたのでしょう。伝え残る行事や習慣には、今の人が忘れてしまった大切な心が示されているように思えます。

Grain rain” is the rain at the end of spring giving us the fruitful season.  It is not rainy season but the rain before “the start of summer” grow fresh green leaves from sprouts.  Thanks to the rain, mountains has lush greenery at the beginning of summer.

The Start of Summer is on May 5th which is the same day as the traditional “Tango no Sekku” festival.  It was said that the medicine taken on May 5th worked effectively.  On May 5th in 611, Empress Suiko hold the “medicine hunting” in Utano, Uda district, Nara.  With the medicinal herbs, fragrances (e.g. agarwood and clove) were packed in a Japanese brocade bag, which was called the scented ball (Kusudama).  Ancient people decorated it with five colored threads and pray for longevity and good health.  They would try to prepare for the intense heat of midsummer.  The scented ball was decorated until September 8th, and then, changed it to the bag with elaeagnus on September 9th.

Ancient people felt the changing of the season and were delighted with blessings of nature and in awe of it.  They spend their lives while remembering a sense of awe of nature.  It seems that an important heart which modern people forget were hidden in tradition and custom.

*Grain rain/ Start of Summer: The traditional East Asian calendars divide a year into 24 solar terms.  “Grain rain” is the 6th solar term and starts on April 19th.  “Start of Summer” is the 7th solar term and starts on May 5th.

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