In Japan, since the Heian period, people among the noble class started to enjoy admiring the moon on the Lunar 15th of August. This custom came from China.
Moon viewing became popular among citizens in the Edo period. Since then people have put Japanese pampas, dumplings and other things on the porch and other places where they can see the moon, and enjoy moon-viewing.
The decorations are various, depending on the area. Usually, people offer dumplings that look like the full moon and Japanese pampas grass where they can see the moon.
In Kagoshima, some districts still have the custom that everyone from children to old people gather on this night and sumo-wrestle and play at tug-of-war.
In Japan, people used to say that if you see the harvest moon, you have to see the moon on the lunar 13th of September (October 6th this year), or it is inauspicious.
*The lunar 15th of August is the harvest moon, it is not always the full moon. Luckily, the full moon and the harvest moon are the same days this year after 8 years!
In autumn and winter, the air is the driest and clear of the year, so you can see the moon very clearly. Also, in Autumn it is not so chilly even at night time.
For these reasons, people started to have the custom of moon viewing.
The harvest moon is called “Chushu-no-Meigetsu (中秋の名月)” or “Jugo-ya(十五夜)”. “Chushu-no-Meigetsu” means “the beautiful moon on the middle day of August in the lunar calender”.
“Jugo-ya” also means “the middle day of the month in the lunar calender (in this case the middle day of August”.
Yes, Japanese people say that the Lunar 15th of August is the night that we can see the most beautiful moon of the year!
Category : text @en