Do you know how many days of Japanese summer vacation?
The correct answer is for 3 days.
Everybody say “You joke! hahaha” … yeah, I would like to say this is joking…but, it is a true.
Actually,13 – 15thAug.These 3 days are very short summer vacation called “Obon-yasumi”.
Today, I introduce Japanese the Obon vacation.
“Obon-yasumi” means Obon holiday.
We visit to graves to give thanks to the ancestors on the spring, autumnal equinoxes and the Obon-yasumi annual.
Cleaning graves offering flowers, some sweets and incense by all families.
Japanese demons and gods have also on summer vacation for this 3 days, so it is said that our ancestors can return to this world in these 3 days.
Therefore, there are many stories of ghosts in Japan during this Obon-yasumi season.
I have heard in western countries ,Halloween is the most scarelly season, right?
“Butsudan” means Buddhist altar. There is this in our parent’s house only.
Can you see wooden material at the right side?
This is called a “Mokugyo”, has the shape of a rounded fish. Monk beats this and reads the sutra, which means to summon ancestors.
We use ring the bell instead of the Mokugyo before praying.
This is a greeting to the ancestors to say “I’m praying now”.
Providing incense, sweets, tea, water, rice and flowers. It is sure we change them every day.
This means enshrines the memorial tablets of deceased people, and asks the ancestors to protect the house.
Vehicle of ancestors
Before Obon, a eggplant and a cucumber like an animal shape are placed in front of the altar.
Cucumber means horse and eggplant means cow. They are vehicles that bring ancestors from heaven (or hell) on it.
Lotus and Buddhism
People who have experienced near-death overseas often say that they saw the flower garden.
In Japan, it is said to cross the Sanzu River. The other side of the river is “That world”. It is said many lotus flowers are blooming. Because, lotus is the Buddha’s flower.
When we see a pond with lots of lotus flowers, we say “Here looks like a heaven!” .
It does not means lotus roots seem delicious…we often eat rotus roots, simmered, though.
I have heard, in the Western country, it is said boys are born from cabbage and girls are born from rose buds. So beautiful idea, isn’t it?😀 But, I am not sure that is it french or UK only?
Japanese are born from lotus flowers and return to them after death. Not rose or sakura.
Soumen is fine wheat noodles. We often cold one and eat dipping this into Mentsuyu with grated ginger and chopped leeks.
We eat Ohagi in Obon. “Ohagi” means glutinous rice ball coated with sweet bean jam. Botamochi is old name of ohagi.
Aug.15 is also the end of war Memorial Day. I’m sure the reason why it finished on this day is gods wanted to take a lot of heroic spirits to heaven.
We often offer them high quality sake. This must be the best way to offer to them.
I won’t be able to go there in this year too because of Covid-19…😥
So, I pray for them in my mind.