Monday, August 13, 2012
all the way from another world
I just walked back from our house grave in the temple with some lit incense sticks which I brought back from the grave altar. It is believed that the souls of the ancestors come along with me, being guided by some lit incense and a small fire for welcoming at the house entrance.
This is one of the biggest traditional Japanese Buddhist events to commemorate our ancestors' souls as well as those of all people in the past. Now they are with us for three days to spend time with their descendants at their homestead. Welcome back.
Obon is the biggest traditional as well as religious event besides the New Year in Japan. We have about a week holiday during the Obon nationwide. In general many young family living away from their parents put themselves into hustles and bustles of packed trains with people and roads with cars in order to visit their houses they've grown up. A happy family of several generations visit the house grave together to pay a respect to their ancestors. Definitely Obon makes it possible for many family members to get reunited to enjoy the holidays. This way Japanese people are more likely to put an importance on a family unity.
Tomorrow our house monk is coming to give a sutra for our ancestors in front of the house altar. Then the day after tomorrow, they are ready to go back to their world of the dead riding on a egg plant cow or a cucumber horse which are standing by on the altar.
Our Obon has got underway just now.