Japan: Nagasaki traditions
Welcome to the heart of the summer season with mid August holidays for “Obon”.
“Obon” is a Buddhist custom that happens over 3 days from 13th-15th August, whereby we welcome back the spirits of deceased ancestors, have them in our presence, and then send them back to heaven.
On the 13th August, we light lanterns with our family emblem on and keep them by the front door of the house to signal and guide the spirits back home. We enjoy good food and company of family for the next three days. Some relatives and friends may visit to pay their respects to your shrine you keep at home, bringing with them some food or monetary gift offerings. Some have monks come visit your house to give readings. Some go to temples for mass readings. On the 15th August, everyone goes to the family grave and some sit by with drinks and food, do some fireworks, and chill as it is a day when we send the spirits back up to heaven.
With our family, naturally, we celebrate by enjoying a glamorous spread of food!
Just check this out please?!
There was something so grounding about visiting the family grave as the sun set behind the mountains. We prayed for good health and happiness, and for our ancestors to keep watch over us as we continue to our lives on Earth. It gave me some peace and stillness, something that you can get very rarely these days, feeling reflective of the things that happened this year so far, and what is still come.
It got me to think about customs and tradition, and the importance of keeping them, teaching them to younger generations, making sure they understand the significance, and that amongst this ever rapidly changing modern world, we would be able to keep just some of these old Japanese traditions for years to come. I respect that at times like Obon, it brings families together, keeps the teenagers grounded, feel the deep love we have for one another and be grateful for what the previous generations have left for us.
Feeling so rested and at peace, I left that day and Japan, ever more motivated and ready for the new challenges ahead!