Friday, 20 June 2008

初夢 Hatsuyume

初夢 Hatsuyume

Are you dreaming? Do you remember your dreams?
Well you should try to remember at least one dream, the first dream you have in the year.

Lucky Dream

According to Japanese legend, this dream will foretell your luck for the coming year. However it is common not to sleep at all in the night between 12/31 and 01/01, that is why in the old Japanese calender January 2nd is marked as 初夢Hatsuyume, as most people will have their first dream in the night between the first and second of January. But don't worry, if you happen not have dreamed this night, it does not mean your chance is over. You can also have your Hatsuyume on the third, fourth and so on.


Now how to read this dream?
In Japan there are a couple of elements in a Hatsuyume which traditionally foretell good luck. Best known are the first three, ordered like this:

一富士、二鷹、三茄子 - 1. Fuji, 2. Hawk, 3. Eggplant

Mount Fuji is almost holy for Japanese, but in this case it might foretell good luck, being the highest "mountain" in Japan brining the highest luck. The hawk was regarded as the strongest bird and most clever bird, giving the dreamer similar attributes. Finally the eggplant, Jap. nasu, is more disputed. Earlier it was a really expensive vegetable only rich people could afford, so dreaming of it could signify earning enough money to eat nasu. Another theory states that since the most famous shogun of Japanese history 徳側家康 Tokugawa Ieyasu loved nasu, dreaming of nasu could foretell getting Tokugawa's good attributes or status and power.

The list continues with:

四扇、五煙草、六座頭 - 4. Fan, 5. Tobacco, 6. Blind Musician

A fan is a symbol for Japan's aristocracy and samurai and Tobacco was an imported luxury. But why number six is a blind musician, nobody could tell me. Maybe it signifies focusing on one strength and being successful with it, instead of wanting everything at once. It could also mean gaining in one area but loosing in another, but I am wildly guessing here.


In earlier times the Japanese were so convinced of the power of the Hatsuyume, that would try really hard dreaming of any of the above. For example it was already known that it is very likely that the things you have seen during the day might appear in your dream. So many people would travel to Mount Fuji, or at least look at paintings of it, try to get an eggplant or watch the sky for hawks. Then when the night would clad Japan in black, they would think of these three things when lying on their 布団 Futon hoping that the images would continue in their dreams.

Annual Event

Whether the dream has real power or not, interpreting dreams is always fun and interesting, especially with friends. Also most people celebrate Silvester or New Year with family and/or friends, so why not add one more event to your new year schedule and meet the 2nd or 3rd of January and talk about the Hatsuyume you had this year?

Unfortunately I forgot my Hatsuyume for this year already...

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