Currently for this week in Japan, it’s Obon Week which means it’s time for dancing, festivals and for some Japanese people, vacation time and some well earned rest. And yes, there are spirits involved but not of the scary variety, these are spirits that are welcomed into people’s homes.
Another part of the festivities is ohakamairi which translates to visiting loved one’s graves. It’s also during this time that altars in people’s homes are offered symbolic sacrifices. Symbolic sacrifices can include horse models made from cucumber (kyuri uma) and eggplant cows (nasu ushi) which are intended to carry spirits of the ancestors to and from our material realm.
Reporting on the event were the team from Rocket News who were in attendance at the Azuma Bridge in Asakusa. Tourou nagashi, is a part of the festival means “lanterns flowing” which means people place lanterns into the river allowing them to float away downstream.
And before you think they allowed the lanterns to drift away to the ocean, there was a small boat down the river to collect the lanterns.