In Japan, the vernal equinox is a public holiday known as Shunbun no Hi, which means “Spring Equinox Day.” It is a day to honor ancestors and is typically observed on March 20th or 21st, depending on the year. On this day, people visit and clean the graves of their ancestors and pay their respects with flowers and other offerings. The vernal equinox is also a time to celebrate the arrival of spring, and many people participate in outdoor activities such as picnics or hanami (cherry blossom viewing). It is a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate the start of a new season.
In seventy days, I will be in Koyasan during Spring Equinox.
On the day of the spring equinox, Buddhists at Koyasan participate in a ceremony called Hanaikada, which involves offering flowers to the statues of the Buddha. The flowers are arranged in the shape of the Buddhist swastika, which represents the eternal cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
Other activities at Koyasan during the spring equinox include chanting sutras, participating in meditation sessions, and visiting the graves of deceased loved ones. The spring equinox is also a time for Buddhists to reflect on their own spiritual practice and to resolve to live in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha.
Phrase of the Day:
- 春分の日 (しゅんぶんのひ): Spring Equinox Day (the official public holiday)
- 彼岸 (ひがん): the spring equinox (in Japanese Buddhism)
- 花生 (はないかだ): the ceremony of offering flowers to the Buddha (held during the spring equinox)
- 花 (はな): flower
- 生 (いかだ): offering or dedication
- 生命の日 (せいめいのひ): day of life (an alternate name for the spring equinox)
- 春 (はる): spring (the season)
- 桜 (さくら): cherry blossom (a symbol of spring in Japan)
- 花見 (はなみ): cherry blossom viewing (a popular activity during spring in Japan)