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February (nigatsu 二月)

***** Location: Worldwide
***** Season: Early Spring
***** Category: Season


nigatsu - the second lunar month

Haiku nigatsu in the Edo period relates to the climate of present-day March,
but some festivals are dated in our present-day February.

. Names of Japanese months and their meanings .


February - Footsteps of Spring

Nigatsu 二月

Spring is believed to start on about February 4th, which is said to be the first day of spring. Even if we hear only the sound of the word haru (spring), we become happy and have great expectations for the coming days,though the temperature of this month is still low and it remains the coldness of winter.

 We feel excited to hear the word harusamu (cold spring), even if it is cold. But the word yokan (the lingering cold of early spring) emphasizes the coldness of winter which is lingering on. As the snow begins to melt and the ice is getting thinner and thinner, the workings of animals and plants become active as shown by seasonal word neko-no-koi (a cat in heat).

Such seasonal words as shirauo (whitebait, icefish), wakasagi (pondsmelt), erisasu (a kind of fishing device put up in the water) are the good examples which show the relationship between the human beings and these fishes. For people have been related to fish which begin to be active in spring and have lived through the means of fishing. And also in this season there start noyaki and yamayaki (burning the withered grass of the field or the mountain to vitalize) every place in the country.

 People feel like to be released from the closed winter life, which makes them open the windows and go out.

 Everyone feels the revival of life and is filled with joy,looking the scenes in which nekoyanagi (pussy willow), crocuses, katakuri (flower of dogtooth), yukiwarisou (mealy primrose), fuki-no-tou (butterbur sprout) are glittering in the sun of early spring. It is not too much to say that people have been admiring ume-no-hana (ume flower) the best since the old days. Being not only noble and beautiful but also sweet-scented, ume-no-hana, which is the first to bloom in spring, has been composed in many poems as the symbol of early spring. By seeing ume flowers, perhaps the Japanese people feel the footsteps of spring close to them.
Inahata Teiko


Photo by Gabi Greve


kigo for early spring

nigatsu jin 二月尽 (にがつじん)
second month comes to an end

..... nigatsu hatsu 二月果つ(にがつはつ)
..... nigatsu tsuku 二月尽く(にがつつく)
..... nigatsu owaru 二月終る(にがつおわる)
..... nigatsu yuku 二月逝く(にがつゆく) second month is going


Japan in February

. February 3rd or 4th: Setsubun .
Japan is a country with four separate seasons and the term setsubun originally referred to the days marking the change from one season to the next but now only the day before risshun is called by that name.

On the night of setsubun many households perform mame-maki, or a bean-throwing ceremony. They fill a small measuring cup with roasted soybeans and throw the beans around the room shouting Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" which means, roughly, "out with the goblins and in with fortune!" They also open windows and throw beans outside.
When they are done with that they then eat the same number of beans as their age which supposedly will allow them to be free of sickens during the coming year.

. February 4th or 5th: Risshun .
Risshun is the first day of spring in the traditional Japanese calendar. No special events are held on this day, though.
The time between the end of January and Risshun is generally the coldest time of the year.

. February 8: Hari-kuyoo for needles .
This is the day when Buddhist masses are sung for needles broken during the past year since it is thought that the needles' lives were sacrificed in service.
A small three-step altar is set up and hung with a sacred rope and strips of cut white paper which indicate a sanctified area. On the top step are offerings of fruit and sweet cakes. On the middle step is a cake of tofu and on the bottom step are various sewing accessories.

February 11: National Foundation Day
This originates in a celebration marking the enthronement of the first Japanese emperor, Emperor Jimmu. After World War II the holiday was abolished, basically for political reasons, but it was reestablished in 1966 due to popular support.

February 14: Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day differs considerably from our Western version. In the west boys and men give their girlfriends/wives/etc. boxes of chocolate and/or flowers.
In Japan, on the other hand, it is the females who give the chocolates.
There are also two types of giving. One is honmei chocolate which is given to true sweethearts of the girls and there is "giri" or obligation chocolate given to male classmates, colleagues at work and friends.

. February 16: Bonden.
This is at the Asahiokayama-jinja Shrine , Yokote-shi, Akita.
Special shrine decorations called bonden, each carried by 20 to 30 young men are taken to a shrine for consecration. Rival groups shake and spin the bonden and compete to become the first group to set them in place.
The bonden consists of three meter long poles wound with cloths of five different colors and some form of decoration at the top.
Another BONDEN is at Izuyama-jinja Shrine, Omagari-shi, Akita.

February 21, nearest Sunday to this date
. O-Taue-Matsuri (御田植祭) .
at Kagami-tsukuri-jinja Shrine, Taramoto-cho, Nara. Another rice-planting festival with its own special dance.


Japanese Festivals of all months
January .. .. February .. .. March .. .. April .. .. May .. .. June .. .. July .. .. August .. .. September .. .. October .. .. November .. .. December

Worldwide use

Southern Hemisphere, Tropics ...
Adjustments for each region must be made.

Calendar reference kigo


Quotes ... Links ... References ... Chores

Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo

Things found on the way

The name February is believed to have derived from the name 'Februa' taken from the Roman 'Festival of Purification'. The root 'februo' meaningto 'I purify by sacrifice'. As part of the seasonal calendar February is the time of the 'Ice Moon' according to Pagan beliefs, and the period described as the 'Moon of the Dark Red Calf' by Black Elk. February has also been known as 'Sprout-kale' by the Anglo-Saxons in relation to the time the kale and cabbage was edible
- Mystical WWW

If apples were pears
And peaches were plums
And the rose had a different name.
If tigers were bears
And fingers were thumbs
I'd love you just the same.
Valentine's Day Songs and Poems

February Photos Collection

February Calendar & Holidays worldwide


February ends -
snowflakes fly to the earth
hugging each other

Haiku by Origa (Olga Hooper)
Haiga by Nakamura Sakuo


конец февраля ...
снежинки летят к земле



Wishing and wanting
to see you,
I step on thin ice.

Madoka Mayuzumi


February haiku
by Victor P. Gendrano


Haiku from February 2003
by Gary Warner

yesterday's paper
frozen in a puddle
Groundhog's Day



Aozora haiku publication : February 2003
Editor : Jasminka Nadaskic Diordievic, and submissions (s)

Related words

***** Calendar reference kigo


still feeling cold, remaining cold, yokan 余寒 (よかん)
lingering cold, nokoru samusa 残る寒さ(のこるさむさ)
. COLD kigo for spring .

. . . . SPRING
the complete SAIJIKI

. WKD : February - KIGO CALENDAR .



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

きさらずや 温もり疎し 迷い猫
kisarazu ya nukumori utoshi mayoi neko

a wandering cat
misses warmness


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