Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Lucky Cat Fortune

Today is another Review Wednesday! They are always fun because there's always something new to try out! And February 22's is a small maneki-neko statue; that is, a Lucky Cat.

You've probably seen these little cuties before in Asian-themed restaurants. They come in a range of sizes and colors, and - if you're observant - you've seen them with their paws raised on different sides, but often moving back & forth. Why is that?

The left paw raised is meant to attract new customers to places such as restaurants, bars and even geisha houses. The right paw raised (as you see in the video above) is for attracting wealth and good fortune, which is why Rob & I put this out when we do scratch and win lottery tickets.

**Please note, these tickets are only do be done by those who are the age of majority in your region; in most of the world it's between 18 and 21 years old. I don't condone minors gambling.

She came with a booklet when we bought her at Chapters/Indigo

Ours summons purity and happiness. **This is just for fun and not a cult belief.

What are those things she's holding?

In Japanese culture, it's common for objects to hold stories with meaning. Each of the items on the cat (neko) either invites wealth, banishes evil/illness or brings some other form of good luck.

The Coin - this large gold coin with Japanese on it, is the Koban coin from the Edo period. It has a very high value (said to be worth ten million ryou).

The Bib (the green chest) - this is often a symbol of warding off poor health. During the Edo period, it was traditional for families of recovered children to visit a Buddhist shrine and place the bib on the Jizo Bosatsu statue, a Buddhist shrine, to say thanks for the health they prayed for.

The Collar - having a cat in 17th-century Japan was a sign of wealth in itself because they were very high-priced. So women with cats liked to show off wealth by giving them collars colored from a deep red flower called hichirimen.

The Bell (on the collar) - this was very practical; because cats were of high value and no owner wanted them stolen, the bell was to help them keep track of the precious felines so they didn't lose them.

How did the legend start?

So how did the concept of a 'lucky cat' come to be in Japan?

The most popular story comes from 17th-century Japan, when an old and poverty-stricken priest had a cat named Tama, in a temple in Tokyo, Japan. They didn't have much food, and when the cat ate the last bit of food they had, the angry priest kicked the cat out into the wilderness to fend for herself.

Around that time, a wealthy samurai came to rest for the night not too far off from the temple, for it was a rainy night. While he rested under the tree, he took notice of the beautiful cat Tama and could swear she was beckoning to him to come to the temple.  So he followed his instinct and went to follow the cat, and not long after he left his spot under the tree, lightening struck it!

He realized he nearly lost his life and truly felt that Tama, the 'lucky cat', had saved it! He was so grateful to the old priest for this, that he donated a great deal of his own wealth to the temple. And when the samurai passed away at an old age, his people had created a statue to honor the cat that saved his life as a young man. And then it became part of pop culture.

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So in honor of the Maneki-Neko legend, today's #Kawaii365 project is a digitally-drawn lucky coin.

Have a lucky day!

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