Habits of Japanese visiting a grave at the day of spring and autumn equinox



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The day of the spring equinox is a holiday under the law concerning national holidays, "Praise nature and care for living things."
Autumnal Equinox Day aims to "remember the ancestors and memorize those who disappear".
"Higan" was saying the seven days that combined the three days before and after, with the spring equinox and the autumn as the middle day, We appreciate our ancestors on the mid day and we will leave the six virtues necessary for reaching the enlightenment point one day a day for the remaining six days.
The six virtues are as follows.

1)布施: Alms = to give others

2)自戒: Self-support = keeping the commandments, to reflect

3)忍耐: Patience = to put up with no complaints

4)精進: Promotion = devoting effort

5)禅定: Meditation= To stabilize the mind

6)智慧: Wisdom =  Working the wisdom to see the truth

The first day of the Higan (Autumn Equinox) (Autumnal Equinox Day is September 23, September 20th) is called "Higannoiri" and on the last day (If Autumnal Equinox Day is September 23, September 26th) is called "Higan-ake".
Spring Equinox also is called the same name.
Higan is a word came from Buddhist term.


Origin of grave visit during Higan

 

In the teachings of Buddhism it is said "middle" There is an idea that everything is good.
It is a moderate period that is neither hot nor cold. On the day of the spring equinox and autumn equinox, the sun rises from due east and sinks to the due west, so the time of day and the time of day are almost the same.
Since it matches Buddhist thought that everything is good, we have established the idea that we can go to paradise by entering the Buddha during the Higan period.
In this way, we began to clean the Buddhist altar and Buddhist clothes during the Higan period and visit the graves.


 Can not  go to the grave during Higan

 

It is customs to visit the grave among Higan, but some people say they can not go to the grave.
Visiting Grave is not done when we go once, it makes sense to go repeatedly.
When we can not visit the grave on the schedule, it is good to visit beforehand, afterwards, etc. we can just put our hands on the altar. It is important to respect ancestors and deceased people.
If our grave or Buddhist altar is at another house and we can not visit, we give an incense sticker.

A summary of visiting a grave during Higan

The culture of visiting a grave on the Higan is based on the teachings of Buddhism.
There are other Buddhist countries than in Japan, but the culture of visiting a grave at Higan seems to be a unique custom in Japan.
I would like to protect the unique culture of Japan by all means.


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