Saturday, 14 January 2012

January: Affection Month

The name ‘Mutsuki’ refers to the time of year for family and friends to come together and celebrate the New Year. There wasn't much to do in the cold dark of winter besides spending time with those closest to you.

January is represented by the ‘Tsuru’ (Crane) and the ‘Matsu’ (Pine). Both are symbols of long life and good luck. The pine tree is known to live for centuries, and never sheds its leaves. No matter how cold the winter, the pine tree stays green and alive.

The Red-crowned Cranes are sacred birds in both China and Japan. They are called the ‘bird of happiness’ because their mating dance makes them appear to be jumping for joy as they leap into the air and float back down on outstretched wings. They also are said to mate for life, which makes them symbols of marital harmony. 

The Japanese or Siberian Red-crowned Cranes are among the largest cranes in the world. They stand almost 5 feet tall, have a 6 foot wingspan and weigh up to 30lbs. Some saints are said to have ridden to heaven on the backs of these cranes. Although they have not been proven to live the legendary 1,000 years, they do live quite a long time. A Siberian crane was reported to have lived 83 years in captivity. They breed and spend the summer in Mongolia and Siberia. In the autumn they migrate to Japan and Korea to spend the winter.

1 comment:

  1. Design notes: The dotted backgrounds represent the snow falling from the sky and I decided to use three pine cones per card which total twelve in all for each month of the year. The full red sun is evocative of the flag of Japan and underlines that the roots of Hanafuda are Japanese. The patterned pines are there to promote interest and contrast as well as representing the texture of real pine cones.