In the States, not much attention is paid to the autumn or vernal (spring) equinoxes. It’s a bit astounding, though, that in other countries, this is actually a most traditional and celebrated holiday.
Take Japan for instance. There, they call the Autumnal Equinox Shubun no Hi. This day holds two significant meanings for the Japanese. One stems from their agricultural society, celebrating the season change and the time when day and night are both equal.
Aside from its agrarian origins, the autumnal equinox is also called Higan no Chu-Nichi. Higan is a seven day period in Japan in which many Japanese will visit their family members who have passed away and clean the area where they were buried. This is related to the Japanese festival Obon, in which it believed that relatives and loved ones return in spirit to visit, but during Shubun no Hi, it is our turn to pay respect.
A very typical food to see during Shubun no Hi is a sticky rice ball called “ohagi.” Though it’s a sweet, it’s relatively healthy, so don’t be bashful!
Do you know any other special celebrations for the Autumn Equinox, or autumn in general?