It was Vernal Equinox Day on Wednesday this week.

Vernal Equinox Day (春分の日 Shunbun no Hi?) is a public holiday in Japan that occurs on the date of the Northward equinox in Japan Standard Time (the vernal equinox can occur on different dates in different timezones), usually March 20 or 21. The date of the holiday is not officially declared until February of the previous year, due to the need for recent astronomical measurements.

Vernal Equinox Day became a public holiday in 1948. Prior to that it was the date of Shunki kōreisai ( 春季皇霊祭?), an event relating to Shintoism. Like other Japanese holidays, this holiday was repackaged as a non-religious holiday for the sake of separation of religion and state in Japan’s postwar constitution.

Even though it is a non-religious holiday, many people visit their ancestor’s graves. I walked past a cemetery near our apartment that I wanted to visit .. and clicked off a few photos using my Canon 5D Mark III and my go-to lens: Canon 28-70mm f/2.8.

Pink peeking out behind the red.

2013 03 20 cemetary-38

The bell at the cemetery. People would walk up randomly and hit the bell, followed by a bow of respect.

2013 03 20 cemetary-20

2013 03 20 cemetary-28

2013 03 20 cemetary-32

A mix of very old, and very new graves.

2013 03 20 cemetary-21

2013 03 20 cemetary-22

Of course, people leave behind flowers.

2013 03 20 cemetary-24

The grave stones are all grey and covered in moss. Intermingled with shots of color from the fresh flowers.

2013 03 20 cemetary-27

A beautiful place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s