Autumn Equinox (秋分の日): Honor your ancestors, remember the departed

Prayers for the departed at Muenjizobosatsu in Shinjuku, the patron deity (buddha) of those who die without family members, or in obscurity, or with no one to mourn them.
Prayers for the departed at Muenjizobosatsu in Shinjuku, the patron deity (buddha) of those who die without family members, or in obscurity, or with no one to mourn them.

Today is Autumn Equinox (秋分の日), the day of the year when day and evening are of equal length.

The day not only marks the change between the hot summer and the cool fall, but is a national holiday to honor ancestors and grieve for the departed. It’s not a bad thing to do. I sort of wonder if the Abe regime might revise Holiday Laws so that if you don’t worship your ancestors—at Yasukuni Shrine—you get the death penalty. Or as my friend Olga put it so eloquently, “Worship your ancestors or join them.”  But let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

Japan established the Autumn Equinox  as a national holiday in 1948 so that citizens could use the time to visit family graves to pay their respects to deceased family members.

The purpose for this holiday is actually included in this law.

“Holiday Laws” (国民の祝日に関する法律)
秋分の日
祖先をうやまい、なくなつた人々をしのぶ。
Autumn Equinox: Worship ancestors, recall those who are gone

So in the spirit of the day, I’ve reposted some tributes to people I admired and deeply miss.  It’s the law, you know.

The Buddha Of The Yakuza, a gang boss who was also a Buddhist priest.

A lawyer who gave his life fighting injustice

Ray Bradbury, one of my favourite authors and a great inspiration. You can’t act if you don’t know. Knowledge is important.

Michiel Brandt, my BFF and a crusader for the rights of the oppressed and the exploited. She should be here. I still have that red dress stored away. I know she’ll never wear it but I can’t throw it away either. Hope is irrational.

For those who have no one left to mourn them, a few words.

And for people who have no idea what to say to remember those who are gone or what to say to those left behind, a benediction for the bereaved that should do the trick.

The summer is over and the fall is coming. Let’s hope for a gentle winter.

 

 

Published by

subcultureist

subcultureist

Managing editors of the blog.

One thought on “Autumn Equinox (秋分の日): Honor your ancestors, remember the departed”

  1. 彼岸 is a good time for reflection on those who came before us. The Christian tradition does not place much importance on visiting the grave of one’s forefathers (because the spirit is already in heaven), but it is important to acknowledge the lives of those who responsible for our existence.

    The picture here is especially appropriate for the article on the Akutagawas. In a country that highly values the concept of 縁, it is truly sad that so many people lead their lives while being 無縁 to everything around them. Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I can’t help but imagine that the suicide rate would be much higher if firearms were as readily available as they are in the States.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *