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Rememberance: How do you think of the dead?

Hi all! How are you doing?

This topic is Remembrance: How do you think of the dead?

I would like to talk about traditional Japanese rites and holidays that take place to honor the memory of deceased relatives and ancestors.  

Higan is in every spring and fall. People visit their ancestors’ graves to hold a memorial service for their ancestors and offer flowers like those below and sweets called ohagi.


Next, Bon. Originally celebrated in mid-July according to the lunar calender, Bon, the Festival of Souls, is now held from July 13 to 16, or from  August 13 to 16, depending on the area. It is a Buddhist festival in honor of the spirits of the dead ancestors to welcome them back into the home. On the first day, spirits of ancestors are welcomed by open-air fire. This is called Mukaebi. And on the night of last day another open-air fire is made to see them off to the other world. This is called Okuribi.


In my hometown my relatives get together on 13th August every year to visit our ancestors’ graves.  We burn incense and after that, we bring the incense home so that it does not blow out. Then we block the wind using a paper lantern.


If the flame goes out, we will have to go back to the grave to light a candle in the paper lantern again. But sometimes it does go out. Then my mother says ” no problem, our grandmother is still here.” and she lights the candle again right where the fire went out. But it is probably a bad way.


These events are so important for me, because these are  events that take place in order to show my grandmother and grandfather that we are living cheerfully and what we will do in the future. Also these events are meant to thank our ancestors. I would participate in these events, telling my children to keep the tradition, if I  had children.


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