Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tōrō nagashi





Tōrō nagashi (灯籠流し, Tōrō nagashi?) is a Japanese ceremony in which participants float paper lanterns (chōchin) down a river. This is primarily done on the last evening of the Buddhist Obon festival as a way to guide the spirits of the departed back to the other world.
Obon takes place on the thirteenth to sixteenth of August or July, depending on the calendar you go by. The white lanterns are for those who have died in the past year. Some Japanese believe that we come from water, so the lanterns represent our bodies returning to water (the sea).




After reading today's post on Cherry's blog, I was inspired to follow suit here. Found the background on google along with the images. More and more each day, I am drawn to Buddhist practices.

11 comments:

willow said...

I was in Japan during Obon festival years ago. It's a beautiful tradition. I especially like that first photo.

Annie Coe said...

It sounds lovely. I too am drawn to Buddist ideas.

birdtweets said...

that is a beautiful ceremony and the image in my mind is one of contrasts. light and darkness and peace. the link to what inspired your friend cherry is breathtaking yoli. thank you very much for leading me there.
your friend, bird tweet robin from down the road

redmaryjanes said...

We light candles on All Saints Eve to honor and remember our family members who have passed on.

Gillian said...

You already seem so Zen to me Yoli.
You'd make a great Buddhist!!
xoxo

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

I find it all very interesting... I like the Buddhist philosophy... I have these two postcards on my wall...
http://flissandmikeadventures.blogspot.com/2006/08/his-holiness-dalai-lama_19.html
take care

Alkemie said...

Great post! Obon for the Japanese is like our Thanksgiving where families get together once a year and also give respect to the ones who have past. It's quite a sight. I lived in Japan for 2 years and spent Obon with a very nice extended Japanese family gathering in Hokkaido.

Another amazing sight are sky lanterns that the Chinese have just after Chinese new year. The lantern festival is still celebrated with real lanterns in Taiwan where hundreds of them light up the sky. You write your wishes (or paint them) onto the lantern and light it (it's like a mini hot air balloon) and let it fly into the sky.

Thanks for the great post! Brings back memories.

Yoli said...

Gillian what a sweet observation. I am thinking of converting but I am the least zen person you could know. Maybe Buddhism will help me achieve that state of tranquility.

For those who have been to Japan during the Obon festival, I can only dream one day being there. Willow and Alkemie please tell me more or blog about it!

Qiuqiu's parents said...

I so love that tradition. I too love all things Buddhist.

kerri said...

What a beautiful and moving tradition.
It must be a gorgeous sight to see..

rochambeau said...

Dear Yoli,
This is a important practice. When you know, will you please let me have the date. I will participate this year too!

xo
Constance