1/22/2005

Autumn Equinox (aki higan)

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Autumn equinox (aki higan)

***** Location: Japan, worldwide
***** Season: Mid-Autumn
***** Category: Seasons


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Explanation

aki higan 秋彼岸 (あきひがん) autumm exuinox
fall equinox
nochi no higan 後の彼岸(のちのひがん)the "later" equinox
second equinox of the year, as opposed to the SPRING equinox

akihigan-e 秋彼岸会(あきひがんえ) ceremony for the autumn equinox


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O-higan お彼岸
is a special time, rooted in Buddhist tradition, when families remember and tend to their loved ones who have passed away. It is said that when a person dies, they cross the river of the netherworld, “Sanzu no kawa” from “Shigan 此岸” (this world) to “Higan 彼岸” (the other side of the river or the other world); families hold memorial services for their relatives living across the river. During this week, families visit cemetaries to clean and maintain graves. They also pray for their loved ones, burn incense and offer them flowers and food. The spirits are known to prefer round food, so botamochi (round glutinous rice balls covered in bean paste) are eaten on this day in spring. The treat gets its name from botan, Chinese peonies which bloom in the spring time.

As spring and fall approach, people often say “Atsusa samusa mo o-higan made,” This expression refers to the favorable seasonal changes that occur at the time of the biannual equinoxes. “Heat and cold last until Higan.” So, we can all look forward to this time of change, and soon welcome spring and its bounty.

The Buddhist rituals may have their predecessors in nature cults and sun cult rituals for the sun. In some areas in Tajima, Tango area, on the day of the equinox the farmers visit three different small shrines in the morning, midday and evening to make offerings to the sun the whole day.

Food offerings for the ancestors are often eaten by the wild animals and birds after the celebrations are over.
The crows and rave are especially keen in our area in Okayama.

. WASHOKU
ohagi おはぎ wrapped rice cakes
 
offerings for ohigan in autumn.

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Shuubun no hi 秋分の日 Day of the Autumn Equinox
September 23

Observance kigo for mid-autumn


This is an official holiday in Japan since 1948, when the constitution defined it as a day “to honor the ancestors and remember the dead . Before 1948, this day was called “Shuuki koorei-sai 秋季皇霊祭, Autumn Celebration of the Ancestors Souls”

In Buddhist communities it is celebrated as “Autumn Equinox Celebration“ shuki higan-e 秋季彼岸会, when it is customary to visit the family graves. This custom started already during the Heian period.

The seven days with this day in the center are called “autumn equinox” aki higan 秋彼岸, the equinoctial week.
Another word is “the other, later equinox, nochi no higan 後の彼岸“, with respect to the spring higan.

The vernal equinox in Spring is simply called “higan” 彼岸” in haiku manuals.


The proper visit of a family grave

1 First clean the stone.
2 Next remove the old incense sticks.
3 Offer some flowers.
4 Burn some fresh incense sticks.
5 Say your prayers with folded hands.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


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The Night Sky changing within the seasons.

Most star patterns in the night sky are associated with specific seasons of the year. Evening skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere enjoy Orion the Hunter only during the cold wintry months, for example. Spring evenings provide a view of the Sickle of Leo, the Lion. In summer, the stars of Scorpius, the Scorpion dominate the southern sky. And the Great Square of Pegasus vies for the stargazer's attention on fall evenings.
Read the details HERE
http://www.space.com/spacewatch/seasonal_stars_030207.html



WKD
science behind the season



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Worldwide use


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Things found on the way


Autumnal Equinox Day
This national holiday was established in 1948 as a day on which to honor one's ancestors and remember the dead.
Due to the necessity of recent astronomical measurements, the date of the holiday is not declared official until February of the previous year.
Prior to 1948, the autumnal equinox was an imperial ancestor worship festival called Shuki korei sai (秋季皇霊祭 shuuki koorei sai).

. September 23, 2011 .


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HAIKU


In rural Japan, most of the farmhouses have their own small private graveyard with stone monuments for the ancestors. It is still quite common to visit these graves and make offerings four times a year, spring and autumn equinox, o-Bon in mid-august and during the New Year Holidays.

But this year in our area

autumn equinox -
so many gravestones
without flowers


autumn equinox -
one last flower
on her grave


Gabi Greve, September 2004



autumn equinox -
the dead old relatives
visit my dream

Read about the visit ...
Gabi Greve, September 2006



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秋彼岸 香の漂う 墓となり
aki higan koo no tadayou haka to nari



higan walk -
the smell of incense
from many graves


join my walk on autumn equinox 2006
Gabi Greve



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烏鳴く 彼岸の朝の 烏鳴く
karasu naku higan no asa no karasu naku


crows crowing
on the morning of higan
crows crowing



Gabi Greve, September 23, 2008


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Click for more information !


autumn equinox -
all the crows celebrating
with grave offerings


Gabi Greve, September 23, 2009



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きらきらと秋の彼岸の椿かな 
kirakira to aki no higan no tsubaki kana

shining bright
the camellias
at the autumn equinox


Kidoo 木導


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- Shared by Christine L. Villa, USA -
Joys of Japan, 2012



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Related words

***** Spring equinox (haru higan) vernal equinox


***** Spider Lilies (higanbana)


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. . . . AUTUMN
the complete SAIJIKI



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2 comments:

sakuo said...

烏鳴く 彼岸の朝の 烏鳴く
karasu naku higan no asa no karasu naku


crows crowing
on the morning of higan
crows crowing

I like this ku very much.
I couldn't explain why it is so good.
But It sound crows crowing in my mind.

sakuo.

Gabi Greve / Joys of Japan said...

autumn equinox
sunbeam divides the melon
evenly into two

Keiko Izawa
- Heron's Nest -