Editor’s note: This year the local Buddhist temples will not hold Hanamatsuri services due to COVID-19. Twenty-nine-year-old Bishop Cosmo Hirai brings a young new perspective to the community. We have also added two previously published essays by Rev. David Fujimoto and Bishop Chishin Hirai because they provide insight relevant to the current struggles of the pandemic.

THE MEANING OF “HANAMATSURI”

Bishop Cosmo Hirai
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

“Kambutsue,” or more commonly known as “Hanamatsuri,” is a significant day for all Buddhists. It is a day that Buddhists around the world celebrate the birth of Buddha, also known as Siddhärtha Gautama, or Oshaka-sama in Japanese. Oshaka-sama is revered as the founder of Buddhism and lived in ancient India about 2,500 years ago. Upon his birth in the Lumbini Garden, it is said that beautiful flowers were scattered from the sky, and with the first seven steps that he took, a lotus flower would blossom under his feet.  This is why the celebration is called “Hanamatsuri” or “flower festival.” 

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