SUMMER / 夏
|和風月名||四月 ＝ 卯月||五月 ＝ 皐月||六月 ＝ 水無月|
|別名||孟夏、首夏、麦秋、卯花月、 立夏、小満||仲夏、仲署、雨月、早苗月、 芒種、夏至||季夏、葵月、水月、常夏月、 小暑、大暑|
4th MONTH: Uzuki / 卯月
MEANING: 4th month of the year (utsugi-blooming month)
PERIOD OF DURATION: 5/6〜5/21
Uzuki is a said to be a shorthand for “卯の花の咲く月” (u-no-hana no saku tsuki)”, which means “the month when utsugi flowers bloom”. U-no-hana is another way of saying utsugi. Utsugi is a type of flowering shrub from the hydrangea family that usually blooms around this time.
Another theory behind the name is related to farming. Written as a variant of “植月” with the same pronunciation of “Uzuki”, this means “the month where rice seeds are planted in preparation for the year’s harvest”.
- Mōka (孟夏) = Beginning of Summer
- Shuka (首夏) = Beginning of Summer
- Bakushū (麦秋) = Period where wheat is a ripe golden color, indicating it’s ready for harvest
- U-no-hana Tsuki (卯花月) = Month when the utsugi flower (deutzia crenata, a flowering shrub from the hydrangea family) blooms
- Rikkan (立夏) = Arrival of Summer
- Shōman (小満) = Period when the sun warms the air, nature rejuvenates, and all plants and living creatures show signs of life
5th MONTH = Satsuki / 皐月
MEANING: Month to harvesting
PERIOD OF DURATION: 6/5〜6/21
Satsuki represents the 5th month of the old calendar, Coincidentally, this is also a busy time where many have to take advantage of the favorable weather to begin planting seeds on their farm. The word satsuki is said to be a shorthand of sorts that indicate this. One example is “早苗を植える月” (sanae wo ueru tsuki), which refers planting rice seeds in this month so that they can quickly grow for harvesting. Normally this should be written as “早苗月” (sanaezuki), but is believed to have been shortened to “satsuki”, even though this doesn’t use the same kanji (Chinese written character).
So why is “皐” (Sa) of Satsuki used? Possibly it bears the same meaning as “sanae” (早苗) based on context. In actuality, the character “皐” has the meaning of “rice offered to the gods” (神に挙げる稲, kami ni ageru ine). The use of this could be superstitious, as form of good luck to having a successful 1st harvest.
- Chūka (仲夏) = Period when the Summer season is hot (midpoint)
- Chūsho (仲署) = Hot period during mid-Summer
- Uzuki (雨月) = Month where it rains a good amount
- Sanaezuki (早苗月) = Month where rice seedlings planted so they can sprout early/on time
- Bōshu (芒種) = The tips of stalks of grain, such as rice or wheat, indicate when harvest is ready
- Geshi (夏至) = Summer Solstice
6th MONTH = Minazuki / 水無月
MEANING: End of the rainy season
PERIOD OF DURATION: 7/7〜7/24
There are several nuances to the meaning, with all primarily related to farmlands.
- On one hand, if we read only the kanji in the name Minazuki, it would be something like “water (水) not present (無) in this month (月). According to some older records, the “na” (無, which is pronounced “nai” regularly) is actually supposed to be read as the Japanese “no” (の), which is a … showing possession. Thus, the name means “the month of water”. Although it begins after the rainy season, Minazuki refers to there being water for the plants and harvests to grow.
- On the other hand, if we stick with the name as it is written in kanji, it is more of a nod towards the fact that rainfall has ended. The reason being is that during the rainfall all water was reserved only for harvest, such as the ricefields. Due to this, there will be no more water as the rainy month has pass and will be followed by more hot days.
- In a slightly different direction, this month can also refer to how busy farmers will be with producing their harvest. They will have to work a great deal after the rainfall has ended, and will have to do so under the intense sun. If we look at if from this point of view, then Minazuki will instead be written with the kanji “皆尽月” while possessing the same phonetics, bearing the meaning “all the farmers (皆) will work exhaustively (尽) during this month (月).
While these explanations do give a slight difference in how to view this, in the long run they do reference the time around the end of the rainy season.
- Kika (季夏) = Ending of the (summer) season
- Aoizuki (葵月) = Month when the hollyhocks grow
- Minazuki (水月) = Alternative writing of “水無月”
- Tononatsu Zuki (常夏月) = Month of normal summer temperature
- Shōsho (小暑) = It will get scorching hot soon
- Taisho (大暑) = It is now scorching hot
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