• Fox’s Wedding – Meteorological Phenomena!

    This hand-painted satsuma circa 1950-60s depicts a sly fox playing a marriage ritual, its hairy leg showing from a loosely clad kimono.

    Cultural clues:

    • 3-tiered sake cups — A shinto wedding tradition of the groom and the bride in alternate partaking of sake. The groom drinks from the small cup, then the bride sips from the middle cup, and the groom again drinks from the large cup, to signify the joining of the two families.
    • bride’s headdress — said to veil the bride’s “horns” of jealousy, ego, and selfishness; it is also said to symbolize the bride’s resolve to become a gentle and obedient wife.

    What does this signify?
    Fox’s wedding is a Japanese phrase for describing the atmospheric ghost lights or sunshower.

    From Wikipedia:
    The term [fox’s wedding, Japanese expression] can refer to several things: atmospheric ghost lights, a phenomenon during which it appears as if paper lanterns from a wedding procession are floating through the dark; that which is commonly referred to as a sunshower; or various strange wedding processions that can be seen in classical Japanese kaidan, essays, and legends. [Foxes are known to] often play tricks on humans in Japanese legend; various Shinto rituals and festive rites relating to the [fox’s wedding] have been developed in various parts of Japan.

    Sunshower’s folkloric names are curiously similar in many cultures across the world!

    • ‘Jackal marries wolf’s wife’ (Afrikaans)
    • ‘old woman is getting married’ (Argentina)
    • ‘Lion is giving/has given birth’  (Nigeria)
    • ‘a romani wedding is taking place somewhere near (Albania) [citation needed]’ 
    • ‘the wolf’s wedding’ (Algeria and Tunisia)
    • ‘the jackal’s wedding’ (Morocco, in Arabic)
    • ‘Jackal’s(or fox’s) wedding’ (Bangladesh/West Bengal)
    • ‘Fox’s wedding’ (Basque)
    • ‘Devil’s fair’ (Belgium, Flanders)
    • the list goes on.

    Wedding kimono

    Wedding kimono, Wikimedia

    Crater Mountain Panarama

    Crater Mountain Panarama (Wikimedia)


    Contributors: Sakura Gonzo, Kumi Dreves, Mika J.,

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