March 2018

Equinox Day and Higan week (Eqinoctial week)

Higan is a week centering around the Equinox day.  There are two Equinox days in a year, vernal and autumnal, so we have 2 Higan weeks in a year, Haru-Higan(vernal higan) and Aki-Higan(autumnal  higan). Each Equinox day is designated as a National Holiday. During this period Buddhist temples hold special memorial services and we have the custom of visiting our ancestors’ graves. Haru-Higan(vernal higan)  is a week usually around March 21st. Aki-Higan(autumnal  higan) is a week usually around September 23rd. Higan is a week easy for the dead to cross the river. On the Equinox day, the day and night are almost equally long.  In Buddhism, it is believed that it becomes easier for the […]

“Hina-matsuri” Doll Festival on March 3rd.

March 3rd is cerebrated as Girl’s Festival called “Hina-matsuri” in Japan. Although it is not designated as a national holiday, it is commonly cerebrated for the family with girls.Hina-maturi is translated to “Dolls Festival”, because families with girls display Hina-ningyo, or Hina-dolls, at their homes to pray for girls’ healthy growth and happiness. Hina-dolls are believed to take away the bad luck of the girl who owns them. What is like Hina-dolls ? Hina-dolls depict the Imperial Court in the Heian period which is the 8th century to the 12th century. Each hina-doll wears the Heian period costume. Main 2 dolls represent the Emperor and the Empress and the other dolls […]

 Yushima Tenmangu shrine & Plum Festival

Yushima Tenmangu is commonly called Yushima Ten-jin. “Ten-jin” means God of Thunder. This shrine is famous for God of Academics, attracting many students who pray for passing the entrance examinations. It is believed that any part of bull statue which people touched will be cured. So many touch its head.  Enshrines a first actual person to be worshipped as a deity. Yushima-Tenmangu enshrines Sugawara no Michizane.  He is a historical figure who was a talented scholar serving for the Emperor in the middle Heian period (794 AD–1185 AD). He was demoted and dispelled through a conspiracy by his rival of the Fujiwara Clan but never developed the hatred for those who […]