Nanakusa: Feast for Health

Herb Gardens 2016 wall calendar

Image from our Herb Gardens 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

On the seventh day of the first month, the Japanese prepare and eat a rice porridge containing seven herbs—a custom which is believed to bring longevity and good health. Traditionally the seven herbs are water dropwort, shepherd’s purse, cudweed, chickweed, nipplewort, turnip, and daikon.

Since the herbs used are some of the first greens to appear in the year (and some of them are edible weeds like chickweed), you might adapt this custom by looking at what is seasonally available in your area and making a salad.

This is the earliest of many holidays that dictate eating early greens in spring, like the bitter herbs of Passover or the mint jelly served with the Easter ham. These bitter flavors help wake up digestion and sluggish systems after the rich foods of the holiday season.

The custom began in China, so you could also wait for the seventh day of the first Chinese month—February 14 this year—to eat your seven herbs.

Waverly FitzgeraldWaverly Fitzgerald is a writer, teacher, and calendar priestess who has studied the lore of holidays and the secrets of time for decades. She shares her research and her thoughts on her Living in Season website and in her book, Slow Time. She is currently working on a series of essays about looking for nature in the city and blogs for the Seattle PI as the “Urban Naturalist.”



Sign up now…receive-news-3

Herb Gardens 2016 wall calendar

This entry was posted in Holiday Lore, Recipes and tagged , , , on by .

About Amber Lotus Publishing

We plant trees — over half a million and growing! Amber Lotus Publishing is proud to be a carbon-negative independent publisher with a dedication to environmental stewardship. Based in Portland, Oregon, Amber Lotus works with an extraordinary collection of artists and authors such as Alex Grey, Chris Burkard, Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chödrön, Thich Nhat Hanh, Louise Hay, Katie Daisy, Kinuko Y. Craft, Ram Dass, and more! We create calendars and greeting cards that illuminate the sacred dimensions of everyday life — mindfulness, healthy lifestyles, and earth awareness. We strive to consistently offer products that are authentic and distinctive to bring you a sense of the eternal by nurturing your heart, renewing your soul, and expanding your mind.

Leave a Reply