Hinamatsuri. Part 2. The poem in English

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We related the story of the peach festival, the celebration of the wedding of the Amakami couple, Uhitini and Suhitini, in Part 1, which we interpreted from the poem in Hotsuma Tsutae, Verse 265ff. Here in Part 2, we give a free translation of the verse. You will be able to read the verse in the original Wosite form together with romaji pronunciation in Part 3.

Free Translation of Hotsuma Tsutate Verse 265

     1)  The heir of the Amakami, Uhitini, and Suhitini who became his wife,

their happy story from the beginning

took place in the area of the capital in those days

which was the Hinaru mountain, the home (miya) of the Amakami.

     2)  When children, they liked to play under the trees in the garden.

They picked up fallen nuts and planted them.

Trees grew and blossomed after three years.

On the third day of the third (lunar) month,

there were hundreds (momo) of flowers and later hundreds of peach (momo) fruit.

So when they were young, they were called Momohinagi and Momohinami.

     3)  The kimi were given names from the fruit of the tree:

the male is the tree (ki), the female is the fruit (mi).

On the third day of the third month, they observed their coming-of-age,

with an offering of miki sacred sake.

     4)  Under the peach trees, they poured miki,

and the moon reflected on the surface.

When offered the miki, she drank first, then he did.

They exchanged love by the teachings of To no Wosite.

     5)  In the morning, to calm down their flushed bodies,

they poured cold water on themselves at the stream.

Their sleeves got wet, a lot and a little (u-su) like the ardent hearts

of Uhitini and Suhitini, perfectly named, and

similar to Universe after creation (uhi) in olden times.

     6)  The clothing of the young people were

kamuri hat and uo-sote with hakama for the male,

ko-sote with uha-katuki veil for the female.

At that time began the custom of taking wives and forming homes and families.

All the people followed the Amenaru Miti.

Miki, Sake, and Misogi

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Sake is a rice wine traditionally brewed during the winter months. The photo from Wikipedia shows a sake brewery in Takayama with a sugitama cedar ball showing that sake is being produced. The first batch of sake is usually ready in late winter or early spring. That is when we see the green sugitama. Over the course of the year, the ball turns browner and browner.

Miki is sacred sake. It is offered to kami and used in ritual and ceremony. Notice that mi-ki is the reverse of ki-mi. If ki is spirit, and mi is a high honorific, then mi-ki may be considered to be sacred spirit. Miki, when used in ritual, represents purity and purification.

Misogi is a water purification ritual, often practiced under natural waterfalls or in the ocean. The above story may be thought of as a first form of misogi, when Uhitini and Suhitini wash themselves in the cold mountain stream.

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