Wednesday, May 23, 2012

【Japanese Taboo】Don't Sleep With Your Head Facing North

We think sleeping with our head facing north is ominous. We call this manner "Kita-Makura", "kita" means "north", "Makura" represents "pillow". So when laying out our futons or deciding how we put our beds on our bedrooms just after moving in, we always try to avoid the north direction for our heads.

Actually this taboo derives from the manner of Buddhism, about 2500 years ago. It is said that when the Buddha died under a sal tree, his head faced north. Since then, in Buddhism, we lay dead people down with their head facing north and that's why Kita-Makura is considered sinister.

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