Harvest Moon Has Cultural Significance

Ben Fukumoto
Ben Fukumoto

KAIMUKI (KHNL) -- Have you looked up into the night sky?

The moon is shining bigger and brighter than it has all year.

There's an ancient Japanese tradition revolving around the moon. That tradition played out Thursday night at Kapiolani Community College.

The celebration was in full swing at the Ohia building. Several Japanese community groups took advantage of tonight's lunar sight.

They held what's called Tuskimi No Kai - an ancient tradition celebrating the harvest moon and giving thanks for all the food and blessing the season raked in.

One custom involves sake.

"When you have the moon beam shining in, it's actually blessing the sake I'm about to consume and in Japanese when you make a toast you say kampai! so...kampai! And it is delicious," said Ben Fukumoto of the United Japanese Society of Hawaii.

The celebration isn't just an excuse to drink. There is a connection. The main crops when the tradition started was rice. Sake is made from rice. So that's how drinking sake during the harvest moon came about.

The moon viewing celebration originated in China then traveled through Korea to Japan so this tradition is shared through several cultures.