Hangesho (半夏生)

Hangesho (the eleventh day after the Summer solstice) is one of the seasonal days (zassetsu) in the Japanese calendar and is so-called because it falls around the time that the medicinal herb Lizard's Tail (Crowdipper) flowers (the leaves of the hangesho (also called katashirogusa) also turn white on half the leaf around this time).

It is a calendar day adopted from Hangeshozu which is one of the 72 divisions of the solar calendar and was formerly the eleventh day after the Summer solstice, and currently is the day that the sun passes overhead at an ecliptic longitude of 100 degrees. It falls on the second of July each year.

It is an important day for farmers and in some areas they finish their planting by this day and then rest for a period of five days. It was said that bad air descends from the heavens on this day, so people put lids on the wells to protect them from the atmosphere or avoided eating vegetables picked on this day. In some regions of Japan, it is said that the supernatural being called Hange roams about and this is a warning not to do farm work at this time.

In Kansai octopus is eaten on this day while in Sanuki they eat udon, and in Ono City, Fukui Prefecture they have a custom of eating grilled mackerel on this day.

Rain falling on this day is called Hange rain and it is often heavy rain.

[Original Japanese]