Maybe some of you have heard of Japanese old custom of taking a herbal bath called "shobu-yu" on the 5th of May? It was part of several traditional customs to celebrate Boy's Day (which is now "Children's Day" to be more politically correct). And the herb thrown into bathtub for this custom is called shobu. It seems that shobu is usually translated as "iris," but to be precise, the shobu used for this herbal bath does not have flowers like those in above photo; it looks more like cattail (typha). (See the photos of shobu plant and shobu-yu here.)
Nevertheless, many Japanese still associate iris flowers with this old custom and with the month of May. Actually, late May and early June are iris season around here, so it is no surprise to see lovely iris-shaped wagashi at most wagashi shops at this time of the year here.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Posted by obachan at 5/31/2008 11:56:00 PM