Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Carpe Diem #892 Kan-no-uchi (mid-winter)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This month its all about kigo or seasonwords those wonderful words which give the scene in the haiku the time in which it was ... This month we are exploring classical and modern kigo for winter and today we will look at Kan-no-uchi (mid-winter).
January is an extremely cold season in a year. Shoukan(less cold) fall on the 15th day after Touji (winter solstice). It is on about January the 6th. Kan(cold season) continues from Shoukan to the day before of Risshun(the first day of spring). So the Japanese refer to the period of these 30 days as Kan-no-uchi(midwinter) from Kan-no-iri(beginning of midwinter) to Kan-ake(the end of cold season).

A haiku by Buson, one of the "big five" in which "midwinter is mentioned:

gokurakuno chikamichi ikutsu kannebutsu
shortcuts to heaven
how many?
midwinter prayers. 

© Buson (Tr. unknown)
Mid winter is the coldest time of winter, but its also the moment that the cold starts to loose control. Nature is turning back to the warmer weather of spring and that's awesome.
Here in my country there are several mid-winter activities and one of them I love to share here with you. Maybe you have heard about it once, maybe not. I certain regions of my country around mid-winter there are musicians who play on the so called "mid-winter-hoorn" or "mid-winter horn". I love the sound of this horn, but it seems to be very difficult to play it. To give you an idea how this horn sounds I have a You Tube video for you: (In this particular video it's a midwinter horn musician who plays the horn while the Christmastree is been set.

I think that in several countries these kind of activities in and 
around mid-winter are taking place, maybe in your country there is also a kind of tradition for mid-winter.

puffs of breath -
the sound of mid winter resonates

through the hills

© Chèvrefeuille

The midwinter horn is very similar with the horn which is played in the Alps. Here is another video, but now it's an Alps horn.

Well ... did you like this horn music? I hope it will inspire you to write/compose an all new haiku.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 9th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our next episode, dawn, later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your creativity with us all.


  1. Kristjaan: what a fun post.
    I must say: I'm glad my neighbours don't play one of those horns :-)

  2. I veered from my usual take and went with a slightly humorous haiku. I must say it was fun! Thanks everyone and enjoy your Mid-Winter!

  3. I departed a bit from the reverent and went astray ;) It was the only Mid-Winter ceremony I could think of. Thanks Kristjaan!

  4. Cool horn sounding for mid-winter! My post fits idea of "movement" as well...thanks for sharing your knowledge, Kristjaan.