February_ang

February is the month of ume, plum blossom. This flower is the first to blossom through the snow and is almost solely the queen of the month, on rare occassion allowing tsubaki (camellia) to make an apperance.

 

During this month the plum blossom festival or Baikasai festival is held and the maiko and geiko of Kamishichiken preform a tea ceremony during this time at the Kitano shrine. Setsubun is another important time of the year, as maiko and geisha perforn various rituals to ward off evil spirits.

One of the most popular and gorgeous designs is the Senior Maiko pin, which features One large multi-layered flower (usually in pink or white) adorned with a myriad of smaller flowers, buds and twigs.

 

Surely, this particular design is one of the most loved and admired

Junior maiko, who tend to be more flamboyant than their senior sisters wear bouqets of tiny ume flowers in red, pinka and white. Those extravagant pins are adorned with shidare, which are usually red and pink. Some maiko wear those bouqets without the falls, which means the girl is a little more experienced.

 

Left: Made in 2015 as a commissioned piece, a junior maiko set of a traditional hairpin and a bridge, used to decorate the top of the coaffiure

Right:Traditional hairpin. Different type of silk dyes different thus the interesting difference between this piece, and the 2015 set

Another design for February are three medium-sized flower, called miwa. They are worn by maiko somewhere between the junior and senior stages, being the sign of a more experienced apprentice.

 

Miwa ume are similar to the single ume, but not as large. Thay are quite an eye-catching design.

Setsubun (節分) is the day before the beginning of Spring in Japan. The name literally means "seasonal division", but usually the term refers to the Spring Setsubun, properly called Risshun (立春) celebrated yearly on February 3 as part of the Spring Festival (春祭 haru matsuri). During that time maiko wear special hairstyles accompanied by special kanzashi: the shibori pinwheel and a kusudama (薬玉; lit. medicine ball) which are decorated balls that originally contained incense or potpourri.

Pinweels are usually made of shibori (tie-dye) fabric and resemble children's toys