Tea Ceremony and Fortune-telling.
“Spring’s Start and the Tiger” and “Well Shining Water”. (Part 1)
By Souchuu Sekine

During the year end’s many pressures, everyone is writing New Year’s cards. In these cards, many expressions such as “Congratulations on Spring’s Start”, “New Spring”, “Spring Hymn” and “Welcome Spring” are used for the new year. But usually, Spring is the three months of March, April, and May; and Winter is December, January, and February. In short, the New Year’s cards are delivered in January, which we can say is right in the middle of Winter.

Thus, despite that January is in Winter, we use the word “Spring” to congratulate the new Year: Why? In China, the four seasons, which are called “Shunkashuutou”, revolve in a circle from Spring to Summer to Autumn to Winter to Spring again. Thus, we celebrate the year’s start which is Spring’s start. But as said before, in Japan, Spring is from March to May. On the other hand, in China, Spring is the three months from February to April. February is called “Spring’s Start”, March is “Mid-Spring”, and April, “Spring’s Evening”.(Dig.1)

In China, Feburary or Spring’s Start’s “Lunar New Year” is celebrated as the year’s start, just as Japan’s New Year is. The Japanese New Year on the old calendar is equivalent exactly to this Chinese “Lunar New Year”. Japan inherited the Chinese “Spring celebration of the year’s start” on the new calendar, which places it in January, which is the end of Winter. But we still use the word “Spring” talking about the new year. In accordance with such a seasonal viewpoint, in Japan even now, in the not-yet-summer May news we write “this Summer’s Start season”, and we call September’s moon the “Mid-Autumn’s harvest moon”.

This way that Japan received China’s fortune telling theory’s influence, that is delaying the seasons by one month in Japan by treating March to May as Spring, isn’t a cause for doubt about the theory.

Next, let’s try and see about the seasons and 12 earthly branches as well as their relation to time. “Spring’s Start” and “New Spring”, being February, are equivalent to the earthly branch of the Tiger. How the earthly branches and seasons/month combine are in the manner indicated above. (Dig. 2) These twelve earthly branches divide into one year and we can apply them to divide one day into 24 hours. (Dig.3)

At the ancient Imperial Court’s Divination Bureau, one hour was the length of two modern hours. A.M. was considered Yang, and P.M. was considered Yin. Time was measured by the earthly branches’ animals and “bells” or “drums” were struck. At the Hour of the Mouse, bells or drums were struck nine times. At the Hour of the Sheep, eight times. Midday, at 12 o’clock, is called True-Horse, because it is exactly at the Hour of the Horse. There is the phrase, “Even plants sleep at the third part of the Cow Hour.” The Hour of the Cow is from 1 am to 3 o’clock and is divided into quarters. The third quarter is the reason for saying “third part”. From 2 am to 2:30 is exactly the middle of the night. Also, the Hour of the Sheep (3pm) is called the “Eighth Hour”. Because 3pm is the eighth hour, we call any example of snacking the “Eighth Hour”. Actually, at the Urasenke office, we have a habit of eating an Eighth Hour snack at about 2:30pm.

As a matter of great interest, Dig.3 (the earthly branches and time diagram) is identical to a modern day clock’s face. On the diagram, the Hour of the Mouse, or midnight, has the same placement, overlapping a modern clock’s midnight. Because of this sort of thing, we understand that our modern day selves’ everyday life is deeply affected by fortune telling. Thus, we can appreciate the continuously rotating, and reoccuriny nature of fortune telling.







此様に日本では中国の易思想の影響を受けた四季と、三月から五月を春 とするようなひと月ずつ遅らせる四季とを疑問を持つ事も無く使い分けて居る。