In Japan, traditionally the days also have religious names and meanings. Some days are considered either good or bad for things like weddings and funerals, while other times and days might be good for things like scheduling a job interview or a school exam. I’ve seen them marked on Japanese printed calendars, but never paid much attention to them. In a way, they’re similar to the Christian customs of not eating meat on Friday or being cautious on Friday the Thirteenth.
I’m just learning about these, so I thought it might be handy to have them as a calendar in my iCal program and on my iPod:
To make this, I started with the calendar found here:
I downloaded it and did a series of search and replaces to add not just the romaji version, but a short description from Wikipedia. If you read Japanese and don’t need the English, you should probably just subscribe to the original
Here’s what Wikipedia says about them:
The rokuyō (六曜) are a series of six days that supposedly predict whether there will be good or bad fortune during that day. The rokuyō are still commonly found on Japanese calendars and are often used to plan weddings and funerals, though most people ignore them in ordinary life. The rokuyō are also known as the rokki (六輝). In order, they are:
Kanji Romanization Meaning
先勝 Senshō Good luck before noon, bad luck after noon. Good day for beginnings (in the morning).
友引 Tomobiki Bad things will happen to your friends. Funerals avoided on this day (tomo = friend, biki = pull, thus a funeral might pull friends toward the deceased). Typically crematoriums are closed this day.
先負 Senbu Bad luck before noon, good luck after noon.
仏滅 Butsumetsu Symbolizes the day Buddha died. Considered the most unlucky day. Weddings are best avoided. Some Shinto shrines close their offices on this day.
大安 Taian The most lucky day. Good day for weddings and events like shop openings.
赤口 Shakkō The hour of the horse (11 am – 1 pm) is lucky. The rest is bad luck.
The rokuyō days are easily calculated from the Japanese Lunisolar calendar. Lunisolar January 1 is always senshō, with the days following in the order given above until the end of the month. Thus, January 2 is tomobiki, January 3 is senbu, and so on. Lunisolar February 1st restarts the sequence at tomobiki. Lunisolar March 1st restarts at senbu, and so on for each month. The last six months repeat the patterns of the first six, so July 1 = senshō, December 1st is shakkō and the moon-viewing day of “August 15th” is always a “butsumetsu.”
This system did not become popular in Japan until the end of the Edo period.