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Hiroshima Day

Social Distancing Project 255I saw much social distancing and some masks outside the temple. There are about twenty adult faces visible in this photo, and six of them are wearing masks. You might not be able to see all of them in this relatively small online image.

 

The Distance Project 35

Two and a half weeks after lockdown pretty much ended, I went to the Hiroshima Day Ceremony at the Buddhist temple. It was the 6th of August.

Around one in five adults still wore facemasks, both inside and out. But those who stayed outdoors were quite well spread out, most still keeping their distance. Indoors, they sat all next to each other, masked or not.

Most of the people who chose to stay outside could have squeezed into the shrine room, but it seems they preferred not to.

During the procession to the lake with the lanterns, most faces were bare and there seemed to be some social distancing going on. At the lakeside, the peace lanterns were taken out on to the water by temple volunteers, who took them two at a time from Sister Maruta.

Usually, the ceremony takes place outdoors at the Peace Pagoda, but rain had been forecast so it was moved to the temple.

It didn’t rain after all, but perhaps those who stayed outside were expecting an outside ceremony, and not yet prepared to enter a crowded room filled with strangers.

The ceremony commemorates the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Japan on 6th August 1945. The lanterns (there are usually 200) are decorated with picture, symbols and words of peace, and there’s a candle in each one.

The following morning, temple volunteers took a boat onto the lake to retrieve the lanterns for next year.

This is just one of many posts from The Distance Project, which has been running since April last year. This link will take you back to the very first posts, or if you want to see them in reverse order, just click on the link in the categories list that's on every page.

 

Social Distancing Project 256In the shrine room during the first part of the ceremony. While some wear facemasks, there’s no social distancing going on.

 

Social Distancing Project 257You can see just one mask wearer visible in this shot, on the right. She had also been in the shrine room. The procession was more spread out than it appears in this photo.

 

Social Distancing Project 258I saw perhaps five or six mask wearers out of all of those at the lake. Some people stood back from the crowd at the waterline.

 

Social Distancing Project 259A woman takes an unusual lantern to the water’s edge. She still wears a mask, but it’s under her chin.

 

Peace lanterns at Willen LakeSister Maruta hands peace lanterns to a temple volunteer. He will take them out past the reeds you see in the background so the wind will take them across the lake. This photo is not part of the Distance Project, but is here to show you more about the ceremony.

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