Hatsuyume is the first dream you have in the New Year and it is considered an omen for the upcoming year!
But which dream is actually considered to be the "first one"? You would usually assume that this refers to the dream you have between December 31st and January 1st! However, in Japan, the night between the old and the new year is usually spent without sleep at all. Therefore your fortune telling dream will come to you during the night of the 1st of January.
To make things even more confusing, the day AFTER the night of the first dream of the year, is also called Hatsuyume, making it January 2nd.
But with all the talk about omens and fortunes for the New Year you are left wondering "What makes a dream a fortunate one?". There is a Japanese proverb that goes like this:
Ichi Fuji, ni taka, san nasubi
Which can basically be translated as: First Fuji, second eagle and third...... eggplant?!? Yes, that's right, eggplant, that purple vegetable that has gained quite some emoji fame! But how did this triad come to be considered lucky and fortunate?
Mount Fuji is Japan's highest mountain and symbolizes "safety"; an eagle is a strong and smart bird and is a symbol for "great heights" which is associated with success; and lastly the eggplant, which is considered great luck due to its Japanese name "nasu", a homophone for the word "to accomplish/to fulfill".
This is one theory to explain the origin of these three auspicious objects. Another one claims that these three were just the favorite things of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo period.
So how can you ensure you dream of one of these lucky tokens? You can get what I like to call "dream insurance": a takarabune image!
The takarabune is a "treasure ship" on which the 7 Gods of Good Fortune are depicted. To increase your chances to dream a favorable hatsuyume even more, the picture is often embellished with a palindrome poem to evoke good luck. The kanji for baku can also appear on the ship's sail, which literally means "tapir" but refers to a chimera like creature that is said to eat nightmares.
Should you, despite the help of gods and nightmare-devouring tapirs, end up having an inauspicious dream, fear not! Just take the takarabune image and throw it into a river, carrying the bad luck away from you. All-round insurance!
So for this New Year's, get your fortune ships and tapirs ready! For a fantastic New Year, I hope you get to dream of trips to Mount Fuji, soaring eagles in the sky and copious amounts of eggplants!!
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Article by Angie Rin
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