Monday, April 13, 2015

Culture Photos: Picnic at a Family Tomb in Okinawa

Springtime Ritual -- Shimi



Some sources call it a Tomb Sweeping Festival.

It's an event held at family tombs, throughout the Ryukyu Islands in the beginning of Spring.

The traditional event was held on the 15th day of the third month by the Lunar Calendar.

These days, it may be any Sunday during April, convenient for family gathering.

prayer and offerings, tomb

Male members of the family clean the grave site area days in advance.

Women, in Okinawan culture, take the lead in speaking to ancestral spirits.

Assorted foods, fruits, juices and alcoholic spirits are presented in front of the tomb.

There is even paper money, known as uchikabi, presented to the departed.

Sticks of incense are lighted and passed around to each family member.

Wishes for health, happiness and good fortune, drift into the air, greeting the spirits.

The incense sticks are placed in a burner above the offerings and, everyone prays.

 Once the spirits have had their fill, the picnic begins.

Food, drink and good conversations are shared by all members of the extended family.

 The family tomb is left spotless, until the next ritual gathering.

More About Okinawa Tombs at Okinawaology Blog

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