🌸Let’s Talk About ‘World Sake Day’ -October 1🍶

Once just a small event known only to those within the sake industry, World Sake Day, (Sake Day), is now celebrated by sake lovers all around the globe.

World Sake Day, (or in Japanese: Nihonshu no Hi), started in 1978 when J.S.S (Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association) decided on October 1 as an official day of ‘sake celebration’.

Sake Day was also created as a salute to the people behind the brew – from the farmers that grow the rice to the people working in (all areas of) the breweries.

We are told that there are perhaps two reasons why October 1 was chosen as the date to celebrate a designated day for sake. According to the J.S.S, until 1965 (Showa 40), the brewery year was officially determined to start a new year on October 1.

Now, although many breweries do not start actual ‘brewing’ until October, the official brewery year begins on July 1 and comes to an end on June 30 the following year.

Another reason, and a far more curious one, for choosing this specific date, lies in the kanji character for sake: 酒, which is a combination of two parts 氵 and 酉 . Both parts of this kanji character have their own separate meaning.

The three lines or dashes to the left indicate water or liquid and the second part of kanji, on the right, represents a jar or vessel. Put together, they literally mean ‘liquid in a jar’, which has become the kanji symbol for not only sake, but for alcohol in general.

Having said this, it is very common for kanji characters and the symbols they are made up from to have more than one meaning. In the case of 酒(sake), the jar by itself (酉) also stands for the 10th sign of the Chinese zodiac, which is the bird/rooster.

The Chinese zodiac consists of 12 animal signs. Many people know these signs to represent years, however, they also represent hours and months. The rooster represents the 10th month and thus its connection to the date of World Sake Day on October 1.

Whatever the reason, or reasons, for choosing this date, one thing is certain and that is October 1 is definitely a day to come together in celebration of this unique and delicious brew – to pay our respects to the history and craft of sake, along with the rice growers, the brewery workers, and the extension of that sake chain in the importers, exporters, buyers, sellers, promoters, educators and consumers – all doing their bit to keep the wonderful tradition and culture of sake alive!

So, mark your calendars, and wherever you may find yourself on October 1, we encourage you to celebrate this special day of the year by raising a glass, or cup, of your favourite sake in a Kanpai toast to this magical brew!

If you are heading to Sake Festival on Sunday 1 October, be sure to join us at the stage area at 2:30pm when we will be chatting a little about World Sake Day and performing Kagami Biraki, the centuries-old tradition of breaking open a sake barrel. As the wooden lid is removed and the barrel is opened, it symbolises the beginning of a joyful celebration.

After the Kagami Biraki ceremony, we will raise our glasses together in a big, celebratory KANPAI!

If you are in Sydney, there is no better way to celebrate World Sake Day than with all of us at Sake Festival. Immerse yourself in the world of sake, taste some of the finest varieties from different regions across Japan, and engage in conversations with sake brewers, sake educators and fellow sake enthusiasts.

We are looking forward to celebrating World Sake Day with you!



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