Monday, 10 August 2009

August 10 - 16: Plans for this week

Flea Market on the grounds of Myoren-ji Temple (10:00 - 17:00, every month on the 12.)

This week, o-bon, the traditional festival to commemorate the ancestors, is celebrated in Japan. For a few days, the deceased spirits are invited back to stay with their families in this world. To guide the spirits of the ancestors back to the hereafter at the end of this period, various rituals involving light and fire take place.

I always wanted to see two particularly spectacular rituals and this year, I have the opportunity to do so.
Chugen Mantoro at Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara.
The stone lanterns on the way up to the shrine as well as the bronze lanterns hanging along the corridors of the shrine itself are all lit up - about 3000 lanterns all together (August 14/15 18:00 - 21:30).

Gozan no Okuribi or Daimonji in Kyoto. Huge bonfires in the shape of characters and symbols are lit on five hills surrounding Kyoto (August 16, from 20:00).

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