Tōji (冬至)

Soaking in Citron

Soaking in Citron

Winter arrived in November with Shichi-Go-San, in Japan. Here it arrives with the Winter Solstice. However, this event, falling on either the 21st or 22nd of December, is called Tōji (冬至). Wikipedia says it is “one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the dongzhi solar term on or around December 21 when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest; i.e., on the first day of the dongzhi solar term. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos.” Some people eat rice gruel and red beans to exorcise the plague god. Also soaking in a hot bath with citron is recommended, as a preventative for colds and chapped skin. Eating pumpkin (kabocha/かぼちゃ) is also thought to guarantee good health throughout the year.

The above graphic says:
Let’s take a citrus bath!
1. Karada o atatameru – to warm the body
2. Ohara tsuru tsuru – to moisten the skin
3. Kaori de rirakkusu – relax to the fragrance

I don’t know where I can find citrons at this point, but I do agree with the idea.


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3 Responses to “Tōji (冬至)”

  1. whereishenow Says:

    the neighbor lady keeps us updated on these habits. she was out clipping YUZU off her tree and told us to come get some and put them in our bath. I bet that you could use lemons, or oranges and get a very similar feeling. She and I were watching t.v. and one of the big shrines in town was serving kabocha soup… so we will make notes in our books and try to remember to go next year and have some soup…..

    as usual, I learned quite a bit from your post. thank you!!!!

  2. whereishenow Says:

    oh, yes. every year. the neighbor lady has a tree and gives us some every year and reminds me to put them in the bath. Many years ago, when I had toddlers, we threw a bunch in the bath with them and (while I left them unattended) they peeled them and smushed them and really made a mess of the water and tub….. but it felt good on the skin!!!

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