GK Annual Events 2017
Sunday, January 15th, 12-4PM
The First Tea Ceremony of the Year with Koto Performance
Yoko Matsubayashi and Scott Stalnaker will demonstrate the Urasenke style tea ceremony. â¨Peter Coats, the Koto master, will perform traditional and his original tunes by Japanese string instrument called “Koto.”
Friday, Feburuary 3rd
Setsubun: The New Year Eve of Lunar Calendar
Throwing Beans at “Oni” ogre: 5PM and 6PM
The official day of Setsubun (ç¯å) is the day before Risshun (ç«æ¥.)Â Risshun is the beginning of Spring or new year in the old lunar calendar.Â Setsubun is equivalent to New Year Eve and is accompanied by a special ritual of driving away the Oni (é¬¼) ogre, which personifies all the negative energy, evil spirits and disasters.Â By throwing beans to ogre, we all cleanse Jaki (éªæ°) or Yaku (å) of the past year.
Friday, March 3rd
Hinamatsuri: Girls’ Day Celebration
March 3rd is a special day for Japanese girls.Â It’s called Hina Matsuri (Festival of Hina Dolls) or Momono Sekku (Festival of Peach Blossom.)Â It has been celebrated since the Heian period, the end of the 9th century, to wish for girls’ healthy growth and happy marriage in their future.Â We will display a set of Hina dolls that represents the wedding of the emperor and the empress, and arrange a peach flower on the Tokonoma (a Japanese-style alcove in a traditional room).Â We prepare special foods such as Hishi-mochi, Hina-arare, Gomoku-zushi and other festive foods.Â Boys are invited to join the cerebration and all the children are allowed to taste Shirozake (unrefined sake).Â We share the happiness of the day and sing Hina Matsuri songs.
TheÂ set of Hina Dolls for display was donated by a New Paltz resident, professor Alfred Marks.
Tuesday, April 8th
Buddhaâs Birthday Celebration
In Japan, Buddha’s birthday is observed on April 8th every year.Â All temples hold a ceremony called Hana-Matsuri (è±ç¥ã) or Kambutsu-E (çä»ä¼).Â They prepare a baby Buddha statue standing in the middle of a pond filled with Ama-cha (sweet herb tea) in a miniature temple decorated with flowers.Â People pour Ama-cha on baby Buddha statue, in honor of another legend, which tells of 9 dragons pouring sweet rain drops over baby Buddha to celebrate his birth.
The first Hana-Matsuri in Japan was observed at Asuka-Dera temple in the year of 606.
Friday, May 5th
Children’s Day/Boys’ Day Celebration
The day was originally called Tango no Sekku (ç«¯åã®ç¯å¥), and was celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th moon in the lunar calendar. On this day, families raise the carp-shaped koinobori wind streamer (carp because of the Chinese/Japanese legend that a carp that swims upstream becomes a dragon), with one carp for the father, one for the mother, and one carp for each child. Families also display a Samurai doll usually riding on a large carp, and the traditional Japanese helmet, kabuto, due to their tradition as symbols of strength and vitality.
Friday, May 5th
Gomen-Kudasai’s 9th anniversary of opening
Friday, July 7th
Tanabata Start Festival
Tanabata (ä¸å¤, “Evening of the seventh”), also known as the Star Festival which is originating from the Chinese folklore.Â It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively).Â According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar.Â People generally celebrate this day by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on tanzaku (çå), small pieces of paper, and hanging them on bamboo tree, sometimes with other paper decorations.Â The bamboo and decorations are often set afloat on a river or burned after the festival.
Saturday, August 5th
Bon-Odori Dance Festival For Peace
Obon or just Bon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of their ancestors.Â This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars.Â It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.Â In the Hudson Valley this dance festival is incorporated with a peace celebration to rethink our dependence on Nuclear Arms & Energy.
Thursday, October 5th
Moon Viewing Celebration
Tsukimi or Otsukimi is Moon Viewing Celebration, also known as Jugoya (åäºå¤), refers to Japanese festivals honoring the Mid-Autumn autumn moon.Â Otsukimi traditions include displaying decorations made from Japanese pampas grass (susuki) and eating rice cake called Tsukimi dango in order to celebrate the fullness of the moon.Â Seasonal produce are also displayed as offerings to the moon.
Saturday, December 30th
Mochi Rice Cake Pounding
When rice making was brought from China to Japan around BC 5 century, it changed the life style of ancient Japanese people
completely.Â They stopped drifting from the mountains to the ocean for food.Â They could stay in one place to build houses and a community, which was the beginning of their civilization. They started to make their home by growing and eating rice.
Around 7th century in order to offer their appreciation and respect to their god of rice harvest (Shinto, not Christian), they started to pound rice to a delicious sticky food – mochi.Â By pounding and eating mochi, they believed that they would receive power from the god.Â Toward the end of the year families, friends, and community members get together to pound mochi for preparation of the New Year Celebration.