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現在のページ:トップページ > 区政情報 > 各種広報媒体・報道資料 > 広報紙 > Minato Monthly > Minato Monthly, August 2018 > Four Seasons and the Japanese Food | Minato Monthly, August 2018

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更新日:2018年8月1日

Four Seasons and the Japanese Food

Obon, Prayer for the Ancestral Soul
Obon is an annual Buddhist custom to pray for the souls of ancestors. Generally, from August 13th to the 16th, families and relatives gather and visit graves to welcome their ancestors’ souls. They clean their ancestors’ graves, leave offerings such as fruits and vegetables, and light incense sticks.
August 13th is called the mukaebi or greeting fire in Japanese. To welcome ancestral souls, after visiting graves, paper lanterns are lit to guide the souls of the deceased to the houses. Also, special altar called shoryodana is placed. This altar is decorated with offerings such as fruits and vegetables. Some of the unique offerings are spirit horses: horse made by cucumber and cow made by eggplant. Cucumber and eggplant are pierced with chopsticks and toothpicks to look like cow and horse. Horse represents a vehicle for their ancestors to come back to their houses quickly, because horse runs fast. Conversely, in order to have the souls of the deceased slowly return to the heaven, cow which walks slowly is offered. It is not certain why eggplant and cucumber are used as ingredients. There is a theory that this custom spread simply because cucumber and eggplant are summer seasonal vegetables.
On the last day of the 16th, fires are lit in pans at the gate and entryway of the house to send the ancestral souls back to the heaven. This is called okuribi, farewell fire in Japanese.

Paper lantern, offering of fruits, eggplant and cucumber spirit horses
Paper lantern, offering of fruits, eggplant and cucumber spirit horses

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