Tsuyu New Moon for Lovers, Family, and Friends

The tsuyu is known as Japan's fifth season. This time of heavy rain between the lovely weather of spring and the wicked heat and humidity of summer brings depression to many. But one area, the Nonogawa River Valley, found a way to bring joy during this sunless time.   Towns in the area celebrate by spending the evening of the new moon of tsuyu season together around roaring fires in picnic shelters honoring the year's wedding anniversaries, engagements, and marriages by telling stories of the couples and families. Everyone roasts mochi dango in the flames and brings sauces to share that they pour over the hot, sticky rice balls. People serve mugicha, a roasted barley herbal tea, and water directly from the spring of the Dragon's Bathtub.   Afterward, couples sneak off for a romantic walk in the rain, sharing an umbrella and talking of their plans for the summer and the year. Many a grandparent volunteers to watch children overnight for younger couples, so they can have this night to themselves. It's common for many babies to be born nine months later.
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Folklore in the region says the tsuyu season is when the river god would be most restless and temperamental, searching for a mate. Flooding often happened because he was upset and lonely. But the river god always found his lover on the new moon, and so he would be distracted and happy.

The historic records up to a century ago show there are no floods after the new moon.

So, a saying developed, "The dragon is happy at new moon, the fields are safe."

Something changed about a century ago, though. There have been a few seasonal floods and mudslides after the new moon. Though, the people of the valley still believe the saying.

Cover image: by Redd


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5 Aug, 2021 12:57

Ths sounds like a wonderful festival. I like the note that children are often born nine months later. XD

5 Aug, 2021 16:04

Thank you! <3

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