Wednesday, April 30, 2008

35 day service

Yesterday was a national holiday, it was also the 35-day service for Satoshi's father.

In Hawaii, we usually only do a 7-day and 49-day memorial service for the deceased.

In Kyoto, they do things really formally and actually have a memorial service every 7 days until the 49-day service.

Luckily for us, Satoshi's mom chose to only do the 7, 21, 35 and 49 day services.

Still, it is quite a tiring experience.

Everyone gathers at Satoshi's parent's home, tea needs to be served and greetings/bowing said. Family members bring sweets which are presented to the altar, this is called osonae, then the priest comes to say prayers for about half and hour. Sitting seiza (on your knees) for this long is very difficult. On top of this, everyone still wears all black clothing.

Since Satoshi's parent's home is quite small, a tray with a burning coal and a container with ground up incense is passed around to each person, according to "rank" in the family (first would be Satoshi's mom), each person puts some ground up incense onto the burning coal then says a prayer--this is called o-shoko.

After the service, the priest is given tea and his fee (about 3 hundred dollars US, this is given each time a service is performed!) The osonae is then divided amongst family that has attended the memorial service. Plus, a little gift, usually a Japanese confection and some chagashi(sweets for tea) is given at each service from the family to the people that attended the memorial service.

Lots of gift giving! This is one of the chagashi that we received, it is called Ajarimochi and is made by Mangetsu. It looks like a manju, but is chewy like mochi. The thing with wagashi (Japanese confections) is that the shelf life is very short.

Next week is the 49-day service, this will be held at the temple and a meal needs to be provided for everyone who attends.

Hope your week is going well.


Lori said...

That does sound a little tiring...but good that you get to see the family and try some interesting snacks. :)

K & S said...

Very tiring indeed, Lori, but like you said, nice to see family.

Take care.