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Tsukimi

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The custom of moon viewing held in mid-autumn is called tsukimi and widely celebrated in Japan. It's said that this moon viewing custom was introduced to Japan from China. Tsukimi takes place on August 15 on the lunar calendar, and it's also called Jugoya, which means the night of 15th. Jugoya on the solar calendar changes every year and usually falls in September or October. The moon on Jugoya isn't always full, but it's said that the moon on the night is the brightest and the most beautiful in the year.

How do Japanese people celebrate Tsukimi? It's done in a quiet manner. Traditionally, susuki (pampas grass) or other autumn flowers are decorated in a vase, and dango (dumplings) and satoimo (taro potatoes) are offered to the moon in an alter. People look at the moon, enjoying the beauty quietly. Tsukimi also has the meaning of celebrating the autumn harvest. Commonly, plain dumplings are stacked on a tray instead of skewered.

The word, tsukimi, is used in Japanese food as well. For example, tsukimi-soba and tsukimi-udon are well-known. They are noodles in hot soup topped with egg. They aren't food for moon viewing, but the word, tsukimi, is used as the cracked egg resembles the moon.

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