Seimei and Kanshoku Okinawa


Seimei festival (seimeisai)

***** Location: Okinawa, Japan
***** Season: Mid-Spring
***** Category: Observance


seimeisai 清明祭 (せいめいさい) Seimei festival
..... seimei mairi 清明参(せいめいまいり) "visiting graves at Seimei"
ushiimii (ウシーミー), shiimii

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This is a celebration in Okainawa, on the beginning of the period

Seimei (清明): Start on April 5 — Clear and bright
It used to be in the third lunar month.

The relatives gather in front of the graves, say prayers and then have a feast, including traditional dishes and the loved "awamori" liquor. After the feast it is time for shamisen music and dance.
The relatives have two weeks to perform the rituals. Sometimes the bones are taken out of the graves and washed.
Washing the bones is a custom of China, see below.


observance kigo for mid-spring

kanshoku 寒食 (かんしょく) "cold food"
kanshoku setsu 寒食節(かんしょくせつ)
ritual of eating cold food

hyakugo setsu 百五節(ひゃくごせつ)
ritual on day 105 (after the winter solstice)

reien setsu 冷烟節(れいえんせつ)"cold smoke" ritual

anzu no kayu 杏の粥 apricot rice gruel
momobana kayu 桃花粥 peach blossom rice gruel
yookagayu 楊花粥 willow blossom rice gruel

kinka 禁火 no fire

jukushoku setsu 熟食節 ritual of hot food

. . . . .

kanshoku ya su ni naretaru hitori sumi

cold food -
I live alone and am used
to things tasting sour

Kuroyanagi Shooha 黒柳召波

. . . . .

kanshoku ya kamado o meguru aburamushi

cold food -
cockroaches search
around the hearth

Tan Taigi 炭太祇


The six seasonal segments of spring
asian lunar calendar

Risshun (立春): February 4—Beginning of spring
Usui (雨水): February 19—Rain water
Keichitsu (啓蟄): March 5—awakening of hibernated (insects)
Shunbun (春分): March 20—Vernal equinox, middle of spring
Seimei (清明): April 5—Clear and bright
Kokuu (穀雨): April 20—Grain rain

. WKD : The 24 solar sections   

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

cold food (hiyashi mono) eaten after a banquet

Matsuo Basho
'At Kyokusui's House' 曲水亭
A party of 5, with Basho, Kyokusui, Kagami Shikoo 各務支考, Hirose Izen Sogyuu 広瀬維然(素牛) and Gakoo 臥高 from Iga.
The cold food was often sooomen そうめん 素麺 thin noodles and fruit.

natsu no yo ya kuzurete akeshi hiyashi mono

summer night--
at dawn, scattered leftovers
of chilled food

Tr. Barnhill

An excerpt from Barnhill's comment:
"Cool food such as melon and eggplant was served at the conclusion of a banquet."

summer night
broken up at dawn
chilled food

Tr. Reichhold

Reichhold's comment:
"This verse was Basho's greeting and beginning link for a renga done with Kyokusui, Gakoo, Izen, and Shikioo at the home of Kyokusui in Zeze. It is thought to be funny that Basho begins a renga with a verse that describes the end of a party. The word 'broken' ['kuzurete'] refers to the night [because of the dawn], the food [leftovers], and the party."]

MORE - hokku about food by
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

. hiya soomen 冷索麺 cold Somen noodles .

. Hiyashi Chuuka 冷やし中華 cold Chinese noodles .

cold tofu
. hiyayakko, hiya yakko 冷奴 "cold guy" .

. WASHOKU - Japanese Food Culture .


what was my face
before my forefathers were born?
Seimei Festival

Ls 1&2 allude to the Zen Buddhist concept of the original face.

. WKD : Koan and Haiku  

Seimei Festival
rain on the grave site I visit
for the first time

faintly alluding to Ching-ming (or Qing-Ming, 清明 Seimei), a poem by the famous Late Tang poet, Du Mu 杜牧.
The festival originated from the Day with Cold Food, a memorial day for Jie Zhitui (介子推 Kai Shisui), who died in 636 BC in the Spring and Autumn Period.

Chen-Ou Liu


The 1st day of the 5th solar term is the Qingming.
Qingming Festival is the 15th day after the Spring Equinox occurring around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar.

The Qingming Festival is commonly translated as the Clear Bright Festival or the Tomb Sweeping Day.

During the Spring and Autumn Period (Chinese: 春秋战国时期), the Duke Wen of Jin (Chinese: 晋文公) created the Hanshi Cold Food Festival (Chinese: 寒食节) to commemorate the loyalty of his friend and servant Jie Zhitui (Chinese: 介之推).

On Hanshi Festival, the day before the solar term Qingming (Chinese: 清明), people were not allowed to use fires to cook or heat up food (eat cold food only), and hang willow branches on doors to show respect to Jie Zhitui, because he was killed with his mother by a fire next to a willow tree. The fire was actually set up by Duke Wen hoping to force Jie Zhitui to come out of his hiding place in the mountains.

The Qingming Festival itself was created by the Tang Emperor Xuanzong in 732. It is said that because the wealthy held too many expensive, elaborate ancestor-worshipping ceremonies, in a needed effort to lower this expense, Emperor Xuanzong declared that respects could be formally paid at ancestor's graves only on Qingming.

Gradually, people combined traditions of the Hanshi Festival into the Qingming Festival and kept as a one-day festival.

Qingming Poem by Du Mu

A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day;
The mourner's heart is breaking on his way.
Where can a hostel be found to drown his sadness?
A cowherd points to Xing Hua village in the distance.

source : chinese/festivals

Related words

***** . WKD : The Season of Spring  

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