うちなー uchinaa: belonging to Okinawa
Okinawa has created some “special days” in the calendar to celebrate different aspects of Okinawa/Ryukyu culture and industry. Based on the sounds of the words or some other special meaning, they choose a day in the calendar to represent it. Please keep in mind these are not serious holidays, just “fun” holidays.
Here is a list of some of them (they sometimes add new ones and probably I have forgotten a few); I will slowly be adding descriptions for each day:
February 6: taanmu ターンム (田芋), English: taro
February 22: Yaeyama kamaboko 八重山かまぼこ, fishcake from the Yaeyama islands
March 4: sanshin 三線, traditional Okinawa 3-string instrument
March 5: sango サンゴ, English: coral
March 8: sanba 三板, traditional wooden Okinawa percussive instrument
March 14: sata andagi サーターアンダギー, Okinawa donut
*March 2 LUNAR CALENDAR: sannin サンニン (月桃), English: shell ginger
April 3: shisa シーサー, guardian lion-dogs
April 10: shibui シブイ, English: winter melon
April 15: mozuku もずく, a type of seaweed popular in Okinawa
Fourth Sunday in April: satoukibi さとうきび, English: sugarcane
May 4: minsa みんさー, type of Okinawa weaving pattern. A traditional minsa pattern consists of four and five small rectangles. These rectangles represent eternal love.
May 8: goya ゴーヤー, English: bitter melon
May 10: kokutou 黒糖, English: brown sugar
May 12: acerola アセロラ
May 30: Lord Gosamaru 護佐丸, a famous Ryukyu Lord of Nakagusuku
July 8: Naha 那覇, major city of Okinawa main island
July 10: Ultraman ウルトラマン, famous super-fighter character who comes from Okinawa
July 15: mango マンゴー
October 17: soba そば (suba すば)
October 25: karate 空手
November 1: awamori 泡盛, local Okinawa liquor
December 23: umibudou 海ぶどう, sea grapes
*after each word comes の日 (-no-hi), meaning “__ day.”
Example: “goya-no-hi” is “goya day”
2 thoughts on “Uchinaa Days: Celebrating Okinawa Culture”
This is great! My husband is from Okinawa, and I didn’t know about these special Okinawan days. Maybe he doesn’t even know them… I would celebrate sataandagi day all day!
These were probably started by the tourism board to promote Okinawa culture… either way, it is really cute and gives me an excuse to eat more foods!