Hassaku (1st August) - Hanamachi: Gion Kobu, Gion Higashi, Kamishichiken, Miyagawacho, Pontocho
According to Japan’s old lunar calender, the first day of a the new month, when the moon was not yet visible, was called tsuitachi 朔 or saku. As the first day of the eight month approached, the brilliant green rice filds began to ripen and bear fruit. With harvest near, the peasant farmers offered these first fruits to their patrons in a show of gratitude with hope for a good harvest.
The custom caught on, and soon even samurai families and members of the imperial court began offering the “first fruits” to those they felt indebted to as a way of expressing their gratitude. This festival, held on the first day of the eighth month, or Hassaku,became known as “Tanomi” ( 田 ta , or rice field, の no, showing possesion, and 実 mi, fruit ), the “Fruit of the Rice Feilds”. A play on words, “Tanomi” (頼み), meaning request or favor, also served as a petition to the gods for a good harvest.
Hassaku is a lot like a New Year’s. In the heat of the summer, robed in the most formal black kimono, young geiko and maiko visit the teahouses, teachers, senior geiko and establishments they depend upon to express their gratitude for their support and beg their favor in the future. (source)
Hassaku ‘10 #21 (by Onihide)
The first day of the month is still called “tsuitachi”—the first ten days of the month have irregular names. I was very proud of myself when I learned them all.