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  • 執筆者の写真April Dykes

Hanamatsuri - The Flower Festival

Hanamatsuri, also known as the flower festival, is celebrated in different parts of Asia where Buddhism is prevalent; Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, etc.  It has many names: Kanbutsue, Busshoe, and Koutane.  'While the celebration is more subdued in Japan, there are national celebrations in other countries.  Hanamatsuri represents the birth of Buddha.  While there is no way to know the exact date of his birth, there are seasonal clues that point to spring.

Based on the Gregorian calendar, April 8th was chosen to represent Buddha’s birthday.  Why is Buddha’s birthday called Hanamatsuri?  According to the Gardena Buddhist Church, “he was born in the middle of a garden that was abloom with all sorts of beautiful flowers…” 

How is Hanamatsuri celebrated?  The custom of holding Hanamatsuri in Buddhist temples came from China in the 7th century.  A small shrine called hana-mido, which translates to flowers pavilion, is placed in an important hall.  Inside of the pavilion is a statue of Shakyamuni standing in a bowl that is surrounded by flowers.  It is important to note the position of the statue; it is said that he is standing with his “left hand towards the ground, the right hand towards the sky to symbolize the unicity of the world” (Gardena Buddhist Church). 

The bowl is filled with ama-cha that worshippers use to pour over the statue’s head with a ladle.  Ama-cha is made from hydrangea macrophylla var. thunbergii.  After pouring the ama-cha on the statue’s head, you can drink the tea or take home a bottle prepared by the temple.   

While some temples continue to uphold the original traditions of Hanamatsuri, over time the day has become associated with spring and an occasion to pray for children’s health.






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