Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rokuyou: Lucky and Unlucky Days of the Week

If you've ever seen a Japanese calendar, even if you can't read any you might have seen a cycle of kanji characters that appear on each day and repeat after six days.

These are "roku-you" 六曜 (roh-koo-yoh, "six days") and are a traditional sort of repeating horoscope laid down over the normal seven day week.

 A 2010 calendar from Microsoft Office, with the "six days" listed under each date.

The rokuyou days range from luckiest of all, "Tai-an" 大安 ("Big Luck/Peace"), down to "Butsu-metsu" 仏滅 (basically "The Day Buddha Died"), with a range in between of varying luck at different times of day or luck involving your friends.

While people don't pay much attention to the rokuyou in their daily life, they're popular enough that wedding halls charge the most on Tai-an, the most popular and auspicious day for ceremonies, and many funeral halls/crematoriums are closed on "Tomo-biki" (a lucky day outside of noon but also with the meaning of "friend pull"or sharing luck with friends, avoided in the case of the funeral homes due to the desire to keep the deceased from pulling their friends along to the grave).

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