Sunday, January 1, 2006

echoes of the old year

At a quarter to twelve, two bells started ringing and families started wandering through the streets. I followed them to a neighborhood temple where a friendly priest was overseeing the children as they took their turns swinging the heavy log. I watched as parents carefully pressed the little ones’ hands together in a New Year’s prayer. Everyone relaxed on the steps in front of the temple with a cup of warm zenzai, sweet bean soup. The priest explained to me that the obligatory 108 rings had been done earlier in the day, so now anyone could ring the bell for good luck in the New Year.

I joined in the festivites - I was satisfied with the resounding peal from my strike, and the passing of the year occured unmarked by anyone while we were enjoying our soup.

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