Higan (Equinox) – Haiga Festival – March 20, 2015


March – new with old mix
in a Paduan Garden

© G.s.k. ‘15

Today at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, Paloma substitutes Chèvrefeuille for his monthly rest … and she tells us about, in a very interesting and winning manner, about the Higan festival.  And what is Higan festival??? Here let me show you in Jen’s words:

Those of you who live in the Southern Hemisphere will be happy to learn that Higan is celebrated for one week in March (Haru Higan) and for one week in September (Aki Higan) – it is a celebration of the Equinox – in which there are equal periods of day and night.

The term “Ohigan” means “the other shore” or “the shore of Sanzu River”.  In Buddhist literature, this refers to leaving the shore of ignorance and suffering and crossing to the shore of Enlightenment.

Haran no Higan lasts for seven days in March, but “Shunbun no hi” is celebrated on the actual day of the equinox.  On this day, people visit their hometown and tend the graves of their ancestors:

“To help their ancestors make the crossing, family members visit the cemetery to pray, weed graves, wash tombstones, light incense and leave flowers.  According to tradition, food, in the form of ohagi or botamochi (sweet rice balls covered with red bean paste), is left to help nourish their ancestors journey to the next world.” Source

Farmers may use this day to pray for an abundant crop, and there is a folk saying related to higan:

Atsusa samusa mo Higan ma de

[“Heat and cold last until Higan”]

But – as you know – Mother Nature doesn’t care much for folk sayings – as Issa points out in this haiku:

“fair weather by Spring’s Equinox”
so they say …

© Issa

This year Mother Nature is offering a special Spring show for us!