when and where to see fall foliage (Japanese version only):

Sunday, August 14, 2011

the Bon Festival started

I heard cicadas churring until midnight yesterday. Today, I heard some crickets singing in the evening for the first time this year.

The annual Bon Festival takes place from August 13th to the 16th. The souls of the dead are believed to return to their families during the festival.

On the 13th, I visited the family grave with my family. We cleaned it, offered flowers and burned incense as an annual event. After returning home, I prepared a special altar called shoryo-dana(精霊棚) and put together Bon Festival lanterns that the spirits of ancestors use as landmarks to find their ways home. (Refer to the Bon Festival about shouryou-dana and Bon Festival lanterns)

On the evening, we light a bonfire using dried hemp stems outside our homes to guide our ancestors.
At the first Bon Festival following the death of a family member, the family hang an unpatterned white lantern outside. Because the member who returns home as a spirit for the first time may lose his way.

A man is still living in his house damaged by the tsunami. His son was engulfed by tsunami. He asked local government not to scrap his house until the Bon Festival ends.  The tsunami-hit areas in Tohoku Region were completely changed.  He thought his son can't return to him without his house.

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