During the Shimi Festival people visit tombs to pray for their family’s health

During the <em>Shimi</em> Festival people visit tombs to pray for their family’s health

On April 8 at the Shikina Cemetery in Naha, relatives gather at the tomb and pray for their health and happiness.

April 9, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

April 8 was the first Sunday of the Shimi Festival season, when the people of Okinawa celebrate ancestral spirits on the lunar calendar. The Shikina Cemetery in Naha was crowded with families offering foods, including tempura and rice cakes. Participants prayed in front of family tombs for their family members’ health and happiness.

According to the Okinawa Meteorological Observatory, the temperature in Naha that day was 22 degrees Celsius. Due to the fine, warm weather the large number of families assembled around the tombs led to traffic congestion. Seventy-two year-old Mitsuko Inafuku, who belongs to Uezu monchu or a relatives’ group, said, “It is difficult to get together because of the traffic and the fact that each of us have so many things to do, but I am happy to see my children and grandchildren here.” Seventeen year-old Taiki Inafuku commented, “I would like to let my ancestors know that my younger brother has passed the entrance exam for high school.”

(English translation by T&CT, Shinako Oyakawa and Mark Ealey)

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