Portland Japanese Garden is so that I can attend this members only event each August. During this time of year in Japan, for 3 days each summer, there is a spirit festival which is considered a homecoming of sorts to welcome back the spirits of ancestors into your home and life. Ever since my first visit to this festival, back when I was still a teenager, the Rev. Kodachi has led the Buddhist ceremony. I am honored to know both he and his wife. (I used to work with Mr. Kodachi during the summer for a week-long Japanese exchange program he created and Mrs. Kodachi just so happens to be my ikebana sensei.)
Before the ceremony, guests gather for Bon Odori. Of the 3 dances performed last night, this is the one I'm most familiar with since I learned it years ago. It is the dance of the Tankō Bushi or "coal mining song."
Guests enter the garden after the performance, and as the Rev. Kodachi chants, we are handed candles that are later lit and are floated on the pond en masse.
Guests continue on and gather on the Moon Bridge. They can be seen to the left.
Sadly my Grandmother Virginia's name was not read, but when my candle was sent out, I thought a lot about her.
To my great surprise, for the first time, I heard much more weeping around me from the other guests and it made me smile.
I have my spirit back now and I very much look forward to moving on in my floral arranging studies. Ikebana is my art form and poetry and I really hope to keep doing it for many years to come.
|The lights collecting, reflecting in the water, the koi sleep beneath.|