Geshi(夏至) (the summer solstice )
June.21th~July.6th (in 2020)
Sal Tree (called Sala in Japanese) in the garden of Torin-in Temple in Kyoto
In this year 2020, the summer solstice is June. 21th. The term of Geshi begins on this day. Around this term the daytime is longest in the year, and we are gonna hear the chirps of cicadas soon. Lately I had nice encounter with a historical plant. It’s Sal Tree (called Sala in Japanese) in the garden of Torin-in Temple. It is in Myosin-ji temple area in Kyoto city.
One of Seasonal flowers, Sal Tree
Though Sal Tree bloom in the early morning, the flowers soon fall spontaneously to the ground in the evening on the same day. It means that the flowers have only one-day life. The name of Sal Tree has been passed down from generation to generation by the Tale of the Heike which is one of Japanese traditional classic. In this story, it is told that the family Heike which had been flourished once was ended, Sal Tree was used in this story as a symbol of the mutability or the evanescence of this world.
At Torin-in in June, we can see this flower and enjoy the tea and wagashi at same time. It is in the limited-time-only event for about two weeks. I went there for the first time this year. I could see them staying on the moss calmly. I thought they looked like snow flake.
Custom-made wagashi for Sal Tree
I also enjoyed the wagashi which was custom-made for this event to appreciate Sal Tree. It was made in the shape of the flower of Sal Tree.
Traditional wagashi, Minazuki
We like a sweet called Minazuki. We have a habit to eat this sweet on the day of Nagoshino-harae (June. 30th) which is summer purification rites held at shrines on the last day of the 6th lunar month. We exorcise evil spirits in the first half of the year and pray to be in sound health in the latter half of the year.
This sweet is made in the shape of triangle looking like ice. Sweet beans are used on a white sweet rice jelly as the meaning of exorcising evil spirits.
I spent my Geshi-term like this. Summer is coming soon.