Uchinaa Days: Celebrating Okinawa Culture

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”