Thursday, October 23, 2014

Carpe Diem "Little Creatures" #10, "Yellow Valerian", one of the Seven Autumn Flowers

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This week's "Little Creatures" episode is about the Yellow Valerian, it's one of the Seven Autumn Flowers (Nanahana no Sekku) according to classical Japanese culture. In Japanese culture there are seven autumn flowers. Those are, next to the Yellow Valerian, bush clover, miscantus, kudzu, large pink, boneset and Chinese bellflower. These flowers are also classical kigo for autumn.

A haiku example on Yellow Valerian by Matsuo Basho:

hyorohyoro to nao tsuyukeshi ya ominaeshi 

a yellow valerian
with its slender stalk stands bedecked
in droplets of dew. 

© Basho

Credits: American Yellow Valerian (Orchid family)
The Yellow Valerian is a 'member' of the Orchid family ... and as you can see above ... it's a wonderful flower.

Another example:

yellow valerian flowers--
rather not bloom
in tough spring

© Chiyo-Ni

Credits: Japanese Yellow Valerian
The Yellow Valerian was once very common as a wild flower in Japan, it's already mentioned in the Manyoshu (9th century), nowadays the Yellow Valerian is decreasing.

Another nice flower is the Marigold. Why do I bring this flower up in this post? Well ... today it's the first day of Diwali, the Hindu Light-festival. During Diwali the Marigold is one of the most seen flowers to decorate homes and streets. Marigold is also known as "thousand leaves flower".

Credits: Marigold

Deepawali or Diwali is a festival of lights symbolizing the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness.  The word “Deepawali” refers to rows of diyas, or clay lamps. This is one of the most popular festivals in the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated on the 15th day of Kartika, according to the Hindu calendar. This festival commemorates Lord Rama's return to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile. The myths around Rama and Ravana are told during another holiday, known as Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami.
The Goddess Lakshmi was Vishnu’s consort and she symbolizes wealth and prosperity. She is also worshipped on Diwali. This festival is celebrated in West Bengal as "Kali Puja", and Kali, Shiva's consort, is worshipped during Diwali. The Diwali festival in southern India often commemorates the conquering of the Asura Naraka, a king of Assam who imprisoned many people. It is believed that Krishna freed the prisoners.

Credits: Diwali decorations

Diwali celebrations may last for up to five days. Many people decorate their home and workplaces with tiny electric lights or small clay oil lamps. Bowls of water with candles and flowers floating on the surface are also popular decorations.
Many people make a special effort to clean their homes and yards before Diwali. They may also wash themselves with water and fragrant oils, wear new clothes and give gifts of sweets to family members, close friends and business associates. Fireworks are set off in the evening in some areas. Melas (fairs) are held in many towns and villages.

So .... happy Diwali!

thousand orange leaves
counting my blessings every day -
I light a candle

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you did like this "Little Creatures" episode and I hope it will inspire you to write haiku and share them with us all.
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Thursday October 30th at noon.

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