Street Life
The Maid’s Church

Distant Lights on the Water.

Social Distancing Project 145There’s a moment between the end of the first part of the ceremony and the procession down to the lake, where nothing seems to happen. They are just getting organised, but with only 18 lanterns instead of 200, they’ll soon be on their way.

The Distance Project 17

The Hiroshima Day ceremony at the Peace Pagoda, by Willen Lake in Milton Keynes was officially cancelled this year. I expected a small invite only ceremony of a similar scale to the Pagoda Ceremony, back in June; there had been just six there.

But I was wrong.

Quite a few a few more people had also turned up to see if anything was going on, to make a total with the invited folk of around two dozen.

It would not be the Buddhist thing to turn them away, plus the pagoda is on public land. So they stayed. In previous years there has been well over 120 attending.

This week I’m showing you photos from the second part of the ceremony. Photos from the first part of the ceremony were posted last week. To see them, please just scroll down to the post, or click on the link.

Usually, 200 lanterns are made for the ceremony, but this year there were just 18 and it didn’t take long for them to be taken out to the water. When there are 200 lanterns it’s dark by the time the last ones go out, but this year dusk had only just started to fall when the Buddhist nun led a final bow towards the water, at the end of the ceremony.

(Edited, September 2021)
This is just one of many posts from The Distance Project and the project is to photograph what people are doing differently under lockdown. The link will take you back to the very first posts, but if you want to see them in reverse order, just click on the link in the categories list that's on every page. The project ran from April 2020 to September 2021.


Social Distancing Project 146The Buddhist nun lead the way down to the lake edge; it’s a very minimal ceremony this year. Other groups are in the public park, too.


Social Distancing Project 147Usually there are more than 120 people and 200 lighted lanterns.


Social Distancing Project 148The first lanterns are handed across to go out to the water.

Social Distancing Project 149In normal times the bank is covered in people holding lanterns, all crowding down to the water line.


Social Distancing Project 150The drums are beaten and “Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo” is chanted throughout this part of the ceremony.


Social Distancing Project 151Lanterns are handed over at arm’s length.


Social Distancing Project 152Temple volunteers take the lanterns out to the middle of the lake. they’ll have to wash their legs and feet later; the water isn’t very nice.


Social Distancing Project 153A final bow in reverence to the souls of the victims of the Hiroshima atom bomb, and the ceremony is finished; more than an hour earlier than in previous years.

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