In Kyoto, following the official Bon holidays - the time of year when one's ancestors return for their annual visit that climaxes with the Daimonji festival - there are smaller, neighborhood festivals every year for children known as Jizo Bon.
One of the highlights of these block parties, which feature games and snacks and gifts for the kids and are held throughout Kyoto, is the passing of the rosary beads.
Typically, a priest will come during the festival and chant the sutra in front of the stone Jizo and the altar. Close to him, the assembled children and adults sit in a circle.
In time to the chanting, they pass a string of wooden beads around. When the largest of the 108 stringed beads - a large piece with a tassle - arrives in front of you, you bring it to your forehead in supplication.
The entire ceremony lasts roughly 15 minutes.
Clicking on the top photo will allow you to see the beads.
The photo below shows the stone Jizo, just above and to the right of the priest's shaved head.
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Friday, August 28, 2009