Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Showa Daibutsu (aka the Big Buddah)


It's Obon week in Japan. Obon is a Buddhist holiday celebrated over several days where people pay homage to their ancestors' spirits, often traveling back to their hometown to do so. Offerings are placed in front of Buddhist altars, lanterns are lit, and (from what I've been hearing) firecrackers are set off in the evenings throughout neighborhoods. 


For four days, there is a candle-lighting "festival" at the Seiryu-ji Temple (where the famous Big Buddah is) in Aomori. I went last night to check it out and see what it was all about. I spent a solid chunk of time sitting in one of the plastic chairs set up before the sea of lanterns, staring at the statue and listening to the monk's chanting. It was really tranquil and beautiful.


Along the path leading up to the statue were hundreds of colorful little pinwheels stuck into the ground along the hills. According to the English pamphlet:

"These are for unborn children. Their mothers come and pray to their unborn children, offering the pinwheels along with candles and incense, sweets, stuffed animals and clothes in hope of consoling their souls."



It's definitely a sight worth experiencing. If you're in Misawa, it'll be going on tonight and tomorrow as well until 9pm. 




4 comments:

margaret said...

Love that you could post about this beautiful and serene place and event - even in the midst of more ground-shaking! Sounds so interesting how you're getting out and about so much...

Robin woods said...
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123 said...
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Anonymous said...
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