Thursday, January 15, 2015

Carpe Diem #648, Little New Year (Koshogatsu)

Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

What an awesome month we have ... I have read wonderful haiku and tanka and a few Troiku this month and all those haiku and tanka are responses on the classical kigo for the fifth season, New Year. Today we are going further with the exploration of these wonderful classical kigo and today that is Little New Year (Koshogatsu).

Credits: Typical decorations for Little New Year

Koshogatsu - A Time of Celebration

New Year is the largest, and perhaps the oldest celebration in Japan. Having both religious and secular associations, it is much like Christmas in Canada.
In A.D. 604, the lunar calendar used in China was adopted for use by the Japanese government. This calendar had both a lunar component which regulated civic events and a solar component which was used for agricultural purposes.
The new moon marked the beginning of the official months but date discrepancies existed between official celebrations and folk celebrations. Using the lunar calendar the New Year was to begin at the second new moon after the winter solstice.
This was the "Great New Year" or shogatsu. At the full moon two weeks later, there was another celebration called "Little New Year" or koshogatsu. Traditionally, these dates would occur sometime from the end of January to the middle of February. However, when the government adopted the Gregorian calendar, shogatsu became associated with the first day of January and koshogatsu fell on the 15th of January.

I found a wonderful haiku with this "Little New Year (or Small New Year) as theme written by Kawai Kayoko:

Hokkeji ni mamori inu kau koshoogatsu

at temple Hokke-Ji
I buy a dog talisman -
little New Year

© Kawai Kayoko

Hokke-Ji temple at Nara
A nice tradition I think. Maybe this has to do with the Dutch idea that you may wish each other "happy new year" until January 15th. It could be, the Dutch and Japanese have a rich tradition of friendship and cooperation so maybe we (the Dutch) have followed this tradition.

no more good wishes
after little new year life goes on -
echo of fire-works

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... I hope you did like this episode and I hope it will inspire you to write all new haiku. So ... celebrate "Little New Year" ....

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and it will remain open until January 18th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, the second episode of our new feature Carpe Diem Time Machine, later on.
!! PS. I hope I have time to publish our new "Sparkling Stars" episode also today, but I have a very busy day ... so I can't guarantee that !!



  2. This for me is very interesting, its the first time i'm exposed to Little New Year, i had been stuck in New Year not knowing of this other celebration. Thank you for sharing.

    Now to work on my haiku

    much love...

  3. I like the idea of extending celebration of the new year. In my church (Catholic), Christmas season lasts until the Baptism of Jesus Feast Day past the first week of January. I'm always sad when the Christmas lights are put away. Now maybe I could adapt little new year and keep the lights a while longer.