Hachiju hachija or the eighty eight days (or nights) tea
Read it in Spanish!
Japan uses two calendars, the official one (Gregorian) which is the calendar most widely used around the world and the unofficial one. Hachijuu Hachiya (八十八夜) is one of the most important dates for Japanese farmers. It means eighty eight days (it depends where we look at it is also translated into eighty eight nights) after the start of the spring (risshun 立春) following the traditional Japanese calendar and it falls around the 2nd of May (except during leap years then it falls in the 1st of May instead). Around this time the plants and flowers start sprouting and that includes tea leaves. Is worth noting that often times the second u in Hachijuu is omitted in the English language and the word is written down as Hachiju instead. However, the juu (十) means ten (number 10) and its furigana or hiragana is written as じゅうtherefore Hachijuu should be the correct way of translating this word.
THE BEST TIME FOR TEA HARVESTING IN JAPAN
THEY EVEN HAVE A DEDICATED TEA PICKING SONG & A COSTUME TOO!
WHY ARE TEABAGS STILL BEING USED?
Teabags are used in replacement of an infuser, mainly for convenience. It is super easy, just boil some water, grab a teabag & toss it unceremoniously inside the cup. That’s it, done! However, how good is the taste of a tea brewed using a teabag? Judging by my own experience, rather poor I would say.
CELEBRATING THE ARRIVAL OF THE SPRING
Leaving long traditions and beliefs aside, the truth is that the first tea of the year is of the highest importance for tea farmers, tea buyers and of course for the end consumers as a whole. Even people who don’t usually drink tea all year long are eager to have a sip or two on the teas harvested after eighty eight days from the start of the spring due to its attributed health benefits. They are a reason to celebrate the end of the long winter, the late frost is gone, the spring arrived, the summer is on its way. Generally speaking there would not be frost in Japan after this day so farmers would be looking forward to harvest their crops. If there was some hard frost after the eighty eight day this would damage the crops irremediably.
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