Visiting my ancestor's grave

"Where are we going to go today?"

My 5-year-old daughter asked me yesterday morning.

"To your grandparent's house."

I answered,


"But we will only visit our ancestor's grave. Obon has started today, right? "

"Oh no! It will not be fun. I only want to play with grandma."

Since she complained, I told her.

"It is not also fun for me. But it is our important custom. Let's go to say hello to our ancestors."

We went to my parents house, then we visited my father's ancestor's grave first.

Since the cemetery would be crowded in the evening, we visited there in the afternoon.

( Because it is so hot that people don't want to visit their ancestor's grave on the daytime. )

We weeded around the grave, offered incense sticks, and read the sutras (Buddhist scriptures).

My children poured water on the grave.

When I was a child, my parents told me,

"Because ancestors are thirsty, pour a lot of water on the grave."

But this custom seems not to be all of Japanese custom, it depends on families.

(For example, some people think that to pour water on the ancestor's grave is not good because it is rudeness for them or it causes damages to the gravestone.)

There were six Jizo (Ksitigarbha) at the entrance of the graveyard.

As a child, my father used to tell me that they are there to guard the graves.

We also offered incense sticks there and joined our hands in prayer.

It seemed to be an unusual but precious opportunity for my children.

I would like them to know our tradition and custom though it is not fun.

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