The autumn course starts with Kikka-shu (Sake with floating Chrysanthemum petals).
September 9th of the lunar calendar* is considered to be the day of the “Choyo no Sekku”, also known as the “Chrysanthemum Festival”, and the chrysanthemum flowers play a main role.
In the Yin-Yang Wu-Xing school of thought, odd numbers are considered as “Yo”, and even numbers are “Yin” which are considered as unlucky numbers. For this reason, odd-numbered days such as “Momo no Sekku (the Doll’s festival)”, March 3rd, “Tango no Sekku (the Boy’s festival)”, May 5th, and “Tanabata (the star festival), July 7th, were lined up to dispel evil spirits and celebrate. September 9th is the day of the year with the largest numeric value among the odd numbers. Therefore, it is when the festivals and dispelling of evil spirits are most celebrated.
It is believed that chrysanthemum flowers have the power to extend their lifespan. Ever since the Heian period (AD794 – AD1185), there has been a practice of drinking chrysanthemum sake in the Choyo festival. It is believed that in prayers for good health and longevity, people drank the sake with chrysanthemum flowers that have been steamed and soaked overnight, resulting in sake with a floral-infused aroma. Nowadays, it is more common to drink sake with floating edible chrysanthemum petals for this festival.
Autumn is a season when the hot summer is finally over, the air is cooler, and the sky is higher with clear, beautiful air and water. I hope you will enjoy the course with drinking Kikka-shu to calm your mind while admiring the moon depicted on the sake ware.
* September 9th of the lunar calendar falls around the middle of October