April 21, 2013

The decoration for Hana-matsuri (the anniversary of the birth of Buddha) in Tokei-ji

As one Buddhist practice of Japan, on April 8, the "Hana-matsuri" (flower festival), which is also called "Kan-butsu-e" (the festival of bathing the new-born Buddha), is performed in almost all Buddhist temples for celebrating the birthday of Buddha.

A tiny shrine called "Hana-mido" (flower shrine) is provided and is decorated with various beautiful flowers. A small basin called "Kan-butsu-oke" (the tub for bathing Buddha) is put in this Hana-mido shrine and filled with "Ama-cha" (sweet hydrangea tea). Inside this Kan-butsu-oke, the image of the newborn Buddha is placed and the worshipers pour Ama-cha tea onto this Buddha's image with a "Hishaku" (scoop) for celebrating his birthday. 

This practice of pouring Ama-cha is derived from the legend that the nine dragons of heaven poured pure and clean rainwater onto the newborn Buddha to give him a his first bath.

This newborn Buddha is standing in his symbolic pose in which he is declaring that he is his own Lord throughout heaven and earth (Tenjyo-tenge-yuigadokuson) by pointing his finger at heaven and earth.

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