Saturday, 14 January 2012

June: Month of Water

The name for the month ‘Mi-na-zuki’ is an example of ‘Ateji’. The name Minazuki is made up of three Chinese characters: (water-not-moon). The middle character for ‘not’ was often substituted as the Ateji, or phonetic equivalent, for ‘na’ which is the possessive article ‘of’. So Minazuki can be read as both ‘the month of water’ and ‘the month without water’. June is usually toward the end of the spring rainy season. There is plenty of water and the rice fields are all flooded. The name of the month could be referring to the flooded fields or the end of the rain.

June is represented by the ‘Botan’ (Peony) blossom, a beautiful flower native to China. In China and Japan the Peony is a symbol of wealth, good fortune and prosperity. The Peony is known for its medicinal properties and large fragrant flowers. It is often shown with butterflies in Chinese and Japanese paintings. The flowers are full of nectar, and attract many insects.

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