Don’t miss the party of the year under the rising full moon this October!
The 2015 Otsukimi Moonviewing Party is a Japanese cultural salon where guests discover the rich tapestry of experiences at Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. Ongoing performances and demonstrations of traditional Japanese art forms will delight guests throughout the evening. Accompanying the bite-sized performances are tasting tables from our catering and spirits sponsors and a mocktail mixologist.
月見 Otsukimi Harvest Moon Celebration
This traditional holiday celebrates the beauty of the moon and the fall harvest. Humble decorations like autumn flowers and susuki (pampas grass, which is at its tallest and most beautiful at this time), are displayed, and kabocha (pumpkin), chestnuts, satoimo (taro potato) and dango (small white rice dumplings, piled high on a tray) are offered to the moon in the family altar. The dumplings were traditionally thought to bring happiness and good health, and the offering honors the moon’s beauty, and is an expression of gratitude for the autumn harvest.
The festival dates to the Nara period (710-794), when it was introduced from China. During the Heian era (794-1185), it was among a handful of seasonal celebrations of the beauty of nature. Court nobles celebrated Otsukimi by indulging in banquets, music, and composing poems dedicated to the moon.
Today, Otsukimi is also celebrated at temples and shrines where dances are performed in Heian-era dress to period music. In Japan and at Shofuso, moongazers imagine they can see the shape of a rabbit making mochi, or sweet rice cakes.
On Otsukimi, everyone should take time out from the cares and tensions of their busy day to pause for a short time and enjoy the dreamy pleasure of moonviewing and find the rabbit on the moon.
About the Japanese House
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden is a traditional-style Japanese house and nationally-ranked garden in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park that reflects the history of Japanese culture in Philadelphia. Each year we offer programs and events that invite our guests to experience traditional Japanese cultural activities and to understand the history of Japan’s presence in Philadelphia from the 1876 Centennial Exposition to present day.
Shofuso was built in Japan in 1953 using traditional techniques and materials and exhibited in the courtyard at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was moved to Philadelphia in 1958, to the site of several previous Japanese structures dating to the 1876 Centennial Exposition. In 2007, internationally renowned artist Hiroshi Senju, inspired by our waterfall, donated 20 murals to Shofuso.
Shofuso was again named the third-ranked Japanese garden in North America by the Journal of Japanese Gardening in 2013, was listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 2013, and is a contributing structure to the Fairmount Park National Historic District since 1972. Shofuso is one of the most authentic Japanese sites outside of Japan and a leader in public Japanese gardens as a founding member of the North American Japanese Garden Association.