Translated by Shoko Naito
How to Visit a Grave Using Good Manners
Written by Kazuki Tsuchido
A lot of Japanese people sometimes visit graves.Visiting a graveis a very important event to morn for the deceased, to report ancestors that the family live safely, and to thank them about it.
I will introduce how Japanese people visit a grave.You may see a lot of people who visit graves or temples as these pictures below.
A Manner of Visiting a Grave
Though it depends on the cemetary, borrow a wooden tub for holding water and a ladle. If you do not have incense sticks, buy them at the temple in the cemetery.
On the way to a grave, run water into a bucket from a tap.
Arriving at a grave, clean it up.
Clean a grave by scraping stains off a grave with a brush or pulling weeds around a grave. Plus, wash flower vase or sweep up around.
When finishing cleaning a grave up, offer incense sticks using matches or candles you bring. Put flowers in a vase in front of a gravestone or offer sweets or food which the deceased person liked.
After offering incense sticks and offerings, ladle out water from a wooden tub and pour water over a grave.
Put your hands flat together in prayer. Tell ancestors about your present situation or thank them for family's safety in your mind.
These are the general manners of visiting a grave. There are no strict rules, but be careful to show your respect.
Do not Forget to Clear up
Please be careful about one thing; clearing up.
When you clean a grave up, you must put rubbish in a garbage bag and take it with you. The incense sticks you offered at a grave must be finished burning.
And in principle, you have to take things you offered at a grave with you. The reason is that birds come to a grave to eat them, and they spill and leave food around a grave.
These are important things to remember when people visit a grave.
photo by Janne Moren on Flickr