Feb 032013
 
Setsubun – more burning in Nara

Charms sold in shrines and temples have their “best before” date. And much like cheese or meat, if charms pass that mark, they might start to stink. Not literally, but they might turn into the source of bad luck.

So you have to dispose them somehow…

Jan 232013
 
Drinking to health (for free) – Nara Daianji Kounin-e

Daianji is one of the Seven Great Temples of Nara. It attracts followers with the promise of protection from cancer. Buddhist rites for the healing are held at the temple and a healing sake is being sold.

Twice a year, the temple hosts a festival when the alcohol is poured for free to the pilgrims.

Obon in Nara

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Aug 152012
 
Obon in Nara

Middle of August in Japan is a time of Obon—a Buddhist holiday for the departed.

It is believed that souls come to their hometowns during this time. Also living people come back to meet with their ancestors, welcome them, and wish farewell with lighting okuribi—”farewell bonfires.”

In Nara—the cradle of Japanese Buddhism—numerous ceremonies take place. The whole city center is lit with thousands of lanterns, and the main activities include opening of the Great Buddha Hall, lighting all the candles in Kasuga Taisha and setting fire to a sign in the shape of character 大 (“great”) which arms are 150 meters long.

Aug 072012
 
Cleaning the Great Buddha of Nara

One of the symbols of Japan—Daibutsu—world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha in Nara is visited by millions of pilrims and tourists. They bring not only prayers and wishes, but also large amounts of dust.

Once a year in August, during a ceremony called “O-Minugui” volunteers armed with cloths and brushes climb the statue and clean it.

May 142012
 
Commemorating Princess Chujo in Taimadera Temple

Chūjō Hime is a legendary figure from Japanese history and folk. Little historical details remain about her life, but for sure she once became a nun in Taimadera Temple in Yamato Province.

On May 14th a parade of 25 Bodhisattva is organized to keep memory about her alive.