This weekend is Tsukimi – or “moon viewing” festival:
The Tsukimi custom was originally borrowed from the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. The tradition is now so popular in Japan that some people repeat the activities for several evenings following the appearance of the full moon during the eighth lunisolar month.
Tsukimi traditions include displaying decorations made from Japanese pampas grass (susuki) and eating rice dumplings called Tsukimi dango in order to celebrate the beauty of the moon. Seasonal produce are also displayed as offerings to the moon. Sweet potatoes are offered to the full moon, while beans or chestnuts are offered to the waxing moon the following month.
Today we had a special lunch (“special” in terms of the items, rather than the taste, which I didn’t rate that highly!) but being both ravenous and excited about eating it with the second grade, I forgot to take a photo. It consisted of sliced bread and an egg burger (as mentioned at the bottom of the Wikipedia page linked above), some pasta soup and a small sweet-potato-filled mochi. Rather carb-heavy for my tastes, and lacking in vegetables, but the mochi was delicious.
This weekend I’ve made plans to visit the tsuki-mi event at Tokugawaen, an old garden here in Nagoya, with Kato Sensei, my favourite teacher at this school. Hopefully we can eat lots of mochi and dango!