“Happy New Year” in Okinawan language

いい そーぐゎち でーびる ii sougwachi debiru In Japanese, this is more equivalent to 良い正月で御座います (yoi shougatsu de gozaimasu), rather than 明けましておめでとう御座います (akemashite omedetou gozaimasu). そーぐゎち sougwachi is 正月 shogatsu in Japanese, New Year in English.

Uchinaa Days: Celebrating Okinawa Culture

うちなー uchinaa: belonging to Okinawa Okinawa has created some "special days" in the calendar to celebrate different aspects of Okinawa/Ryukyu culture and industry. Based on the sounds of the words or some other special meaning, they choose a day in the calendar to represent it. Please keep in mind these are not serious holidays, just … Continue reading Uchinaa Days: Celebrating Okinawa Culture

Setsubun festivals in Okinawa: 節分祭

節分: Setsubun 祭: festival In a previous post, I talked a little about Setsubun, the bean-scattering ceremony. This year, I went to the setsubun-sai (festival) at Naminoue Shrine, which is held on February 3rd. It was a grey and cloudy day, with a bit of a chill. My husband and I parked the car a … Continue reading Setsubun festivals in Okinawa: 節分祭

New Year’s Foods in Okinawa

osechi-ryouri 御節料理: New Year's cuisine Previously I posted some basic info about New Year's celebrations in Okinawa. But this is all about the food, so let's talk food. The grocery aisles are lined with various important foods on display, many of which may not be too familiar to foreigners. In this modern day you will … Continue reading New Year’s Foods in Okinawa

New Year’s Eve in Okinawa : 大晦日

大晦日 oomisoka: New Year's eve **in Okinawa language it is pronounced “toushinuyuruu” とぅしぬゆるー New year's eve in Okinawa is a bit different from the mainland. Overall, there are less temples and shrines in Okinawa than in the mainland (not only, this but historically there are some differences in religion), so visiting at the stroke of … Continue reading New Year’s Eve in Okinawa : 大晦日

Culture Day: 文化の日

文化 bunka: culture 文化の日 bunka-no-hi: Culture Day In Japan, on November 3rd is "Culture Day," a national public holiday. In our village, there was a culture celebration held the following weekend. Various village products were promoted, and people did various types of performances at the local auditorium. Not just our village, many many surrounding towns … Continue reading Culture Day: 文化の日

Where to see eisa during Obon…

If you are in Okinawa during Obon, then likely you will hear eisa drums in the distance. I previously wrote a tiny bit introducing about Okinawa's bon dance, eisa エイサー, in another post. You can hear eisa pretty much year-round, and especially at summer matsuri (~July-October), but it is most important during Obon. Neighborhood Obon eisa … Continue reading Where to see eisa during Obon…

Usanmi ウサンミ: Okinawa Feast Boxes

ウサンミ (kanji: 御三味): usanmi. Usanmi are Okinawan feasts typically prepared during holidays such as shiimii 清明祭 and Obon 旧盆. It is packed into lacquered multi-tiered boxes. The amount of food should be in odd numbers, usually 9. Usanmi seems to be a mixed custom, with origins in China and with Japanese influence... after all, Okinawa is … Continue reading Usanmi ウサンミ: Okinawa Feast Boxes

Tanabata 七夕 & Somen そうめん

七夕 Tanabata: Japanese Star festival on July 7th (read more here). そうめん (素麺) somen: a type of noodles made of wheat flour so they are white and very thin. It is a very popular dish during summer. I wrote previously about Tanabata and how it is not *really* celebrated the same in Okinawa. But with … Continue reading Tanabata 七夕 & Somen そうめん

Okinawa War Memorial Day: 慰霊の日

慰霊の日 irei-no-hi: Okinawa War Memorial Day. Irei-no-hi is on June 23rd. This is a prefectural holiday here in Okinawa, so schools and government offices close. It is a day to remember and pray for those Okinawans whose lives were sacrificed during the Battle of Okinawa and WWII, especially since the majority of them were civilians, … Continue reading Okinawa War Memorial Day: 慰霊の日