Nanakusa Matsuri


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Nanakusa Matsuri (Seven Herbs or Grasses Festival)

January 7
A Japanese ceremony dating back to the ninth century, also called Wakana-setsu or " Festival of Young Herbs," or Jin-jitsu " Man Day " because it occurs on the zodiacal day for "man." After an offering to the clan deity in the morning, participants partake of nanakusa gayu, a rice gruel seasoned with seven different herbs that is said to have been served for its medicinal value to the young prince of the Emperor Saga (ruled 810-824). The herbs are shepherd's-purse, chickweed, parsley, cottonweed, radish, as well as herbs known as hotoke-no-za and aona in Japanese.
SOURCES:
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 540
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 83
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