2019-12-05 Monthly Feature Story-December 2019-The Winter Solstice
Cultural Tips - The Winter Solstice
The winter solstice in 2019 falls on December 22nd. In Japan, people believe that good fortune increases after this day.
The winter solstice is the day with the shortest amount of daylight in the year. In other words, the days get longer after the solstice and it is said that the sun's power revives.
On this day, there is a custom where people eat food which has a sound "un" at the end, in order to draw further fortune because "un" translates to fortune in Japanese. For example, 'nankin' (pumpkin), 'ninjin' (carrot), 'daikon' (Japanese radish), 'renkon' (lotus root), 'kinkan' (kumquat), and 'udon' noodles.
In addition, people take a bath with 'yuzu' Japanese citrus floating in the water. The yuzu trees are resistant to disease and have longer lives than other fruit trees. So, it is considered that the tradition was formed as a way to wish for good health.
In fact, the bath with yuzu citrus can improve blood circulation to warm yourself and prevent colds.