Category Archives: Festivals

Wesak Festival, Full Moon of 7 May 2020

NASA/Joel Kowsky

Editor’s Note

This year, the Wesak Festival which we first wrote about in 2016, takes place on May 5 – 9 this year of 2020.

The Wesak Festival at the time of the Taurus new moon is said to take place when the Buddha and the Christ meet in the mysterious Shambhala Valley in the Himalayas. A powerful energy combines Wisdom and Love to elevate human consciousness.

Wesak is especially important when the entire globe is engaged in a struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic. Let those of spiritual inclination join together in meditation with the intent to foster the coming of the new Light.

The Lucis Trust (lucis means light) is dedicated to the establishment of a new and better way of life for everyone in the world based on the fulfillment of the divine plan for humanity.

The Lucis Trust has posted their message for Wesak 2020 and an excerpt follows.

Wesak is widely celebrated throughout the East as the Festival of the Buddha. For esotericists it is the high point of the spiritual year when forces of enlightenment flow from the higher worlds into the mind of humanity.

A new world is now being conceived by many – it is being actively looked for, and when the eye of the soul is opened, it will be seen to be more real than the world that is revealed by the five senses. The new light is on its way. The annual Wesak blessing plays a crucial role in the coming of that light.

On the Lucis Trust Wesak page, you can download a 24-page copy of the booklet, The Wesak Festival.

The very beautiful and profound Wesak 2020 video is linked here.

The Agni Yoga Invocation, a modified version of the Great Invocation, has been created by Yves Chaumette.  You may include it in your Wesak meditation. 

Agni Yoga Invocation

From the point of Emergence in the Spirit of Space

Light pours into everyone’s spirit.

Light impregnates the world.

From the point of Unity in the Heart of Space

Love gushes out into everyone’s heart.

Love regenerates the world.

From the point of Tension in the Fire of Space

Will inspires everyone’s efforts.

Will affirms the world.

From all the centers in the Circle of the One Life

The radiation of Love and Light intensifies;

Everyone manifests the Beauty of the world.

Light, Love and Will transfigure the present world.  

The full moon of May 2020 occurs at 3:45 am PDT on May 7. The Wesak festival begins two days before and continues until two days after the full moon.

Let us join together in bringing the Light.

“Song of Shambhala” by Nicholas Roerich, 1943, public domain

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2020 Spring Festivals in Kyoto Postponed

Aoi Matsuri, May 2018

The Aoi Matsuri, the so-called Hollyhock Festival of Kyoto, is one of Kyoto’s finest events. Around 500 people participate in the procession in Heian period dress. The photo above was taken by Okunomichi on May 15, 2018.

Green Shinto has posted a timely article on festivals in Kyoto that are postponed this year because of the pandemic. They include the Aoi Matsuri of May 15, 2020.

In Japan the emergency has coincided with the flowering of cherry blossom, symbolic of life’s brief beauty. 

Green Shinto informs us that this festival began in the 6th century to appease the kami.

The festival is claimed as one of the oldest in Japan, with its roots in the sixth century according to the Nihon shoki (720). It may have been that an epidemic had spread through the country at a time of famine and earthquake.

An earlier post on Okunomichi mentions the Aoi Matsuri along with other ancient festivals. According to the Wosite documents as reported by WoshiteWorld, there were from Wosite Jomon times these seasonal festivals:

In the annals of the Wosite documents of Jomon Japan, annual festivals of the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth lunar months are mentioned as follows:

1/1     Hatsuhi, New Year’s Day

3/3     Momo no Sekku Peach Festival of Girls Day (Hinamatsuri)

5/5      Aoi Matsuri, Hollyhock Festival of Kyoto

7/7     Tanahata Matsuri, Star Festival

9/9     Kiku-kuri Matsuri, Chrysanthemum-Chestnut Festival

There is a wonderful video of the Yasurai Festival at Imamiya Jinja, in the same Green Shinto post.

We look forward to the resumption of the traditional observances next year.

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Sendai Tanabata Matsuri, August 6-8, 2018

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sendai Tanabata

Sendai Tanabata festivals have been popular events since the time of the first lord of Sendai and hero Date Masamune (1567 – 1636). Two million visitors have been attending in recent years. The civic center and business areas are festooned with colorful streamers representing light coming from stars. To adjust for our modern solar calendar, Sendai observes Tanabata in August. This year, the dates were August 6, 7, and 8, 2018. Tanabata has become a romantic story of two Milky-Way-crossed lovers who meet once a year on this night. This adjunct to the original weaving theme probably came from China in the 8th century, and was further enlarged upon by Sendai merchants in the 17th cenury. So it is now a far cry from the simple nature-based Jomon festival.

Tanahata Maturi of Jomon Period

The Tanabata Hoshi Matsuri goes far back to Jomon times, when it was called Tanahata Hosi Maturi, the weaving loom star festival of the seventh night of the seventh lunar month. This is the night of the first quarter moon of our eighth month. On that night, Jomon people would look up at the Milky Way and thank ancestors for providing food and shelter and clothing. As part of the ceremony, they would perform ritual weaving on the tanahata loom. And in their gratitude and joy for all their blessings, they would dance all night. Weaving is a metaphor for the orderliness of Universe, where warp and woof threads are properly aligned and balanced. And where warp and woof represent male and female, without their meeting there would be no children.

This is one of the many seasonal maturi described in the the Hotuma Tutaye and Misakahumi ancient documents written in Wosite characters.

Modern Tanabata Decorations

These photos were taken on August 8, 2018 in Sendai. Note the kusudama balls below which streamers of washi paper float in the breeze. The traditional tanzaku strips of paper have wishes written on them and are hung on bamboo branches. There were many modern designs as well. And, as usual, there are decorations of thousands of origami cranes for peace.

Enjoy these cheerful works of art as you send your prayers of gratitude to your ancestors.

 

 

 

 

Photos by (c) C.N.

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Heike Festival and Tsurutomi-hime of Miyazaki

Trurutomihime & Hietsuki

Tsurutomi-hime and hietsuki (pounding millet)

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The doll pictured above is Tsurutomi-hime, a Heike lady of Miyazaki, on the southern island of Kyushu. Recall the Heike-Genji war of the 12th century. The decisive sea battle of Dannoura took place in 1185, in the waters of the Shimonoseki Strait. This site lies between Shimonoseki of Yamaguchi-ken on the island of Honshu and Kitakyushu of Fukuoka-ken on the island of Kyushu.

The Heike lost and fled for their lives. Some Heike went to Iwate and Miyagi. Others went south to the remote reaches of Kyushu.

Tsurutomi-hime was the daughter of a leader of the Heike who found refuge in the deep mountains of Miyazaki. Their life was hard, they could grow no rice, and so they pounded hie which is Japanese millet.

A Genji warrior, Nasu Daihachiro, was sent to search for the refugee Heike. He found a group of Heike living a wretched life in a place called Shiiba. Instead of destroying them, he fell in love with Tsurutomi, and he lived happily with her in Shiiba. However after three years, Nasu was ordered to return to Honshu by Shogun Yoritomo. He left behind a daughter with Tsurutomi.

Today in Shiiba, there are descendants of the Genji warrior Nasu Daihachiro with the family name Nasu. A Heike festival is held there every November. This love story is recreated and sung in the Hietsuki-bushi. Shiiba is a tiny village of about four thousand residents, but people come from far and wide to participate in the festival and remember the love between a Genji man and a Heike woman over 800 years ago.

 

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