Make & do: Hana Matsuri

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hanamatsuri

hanamatsuriIn Japan, Buddha’s birthday – Hana Matsuri, or ‘Flower Festival’ is celebrated every year on 8 April. Many people go to temples to bring offerings of fresh spring flowers. It is also a time for hanging lanterns and enjoying family meals.

One ritual found throughout Asia and in most schools of Buddhism is that of washing the baby Buddha and placing him on the shrine on this day.

You and your child could celebrate this festival too.

  • You could fill your dining table (shrine) with flowers. These could be ones you’ve made from tissue and your cherry blossom branches, wildflowers you have collected in, or maybe a cheerful little bunch of daffodils from your garden.
  • You could give a dolly a bath and sit her amongst the flowers to represent Buddha.
  • You could make a simple family meal together, maybe vegetable and noodles.

Teaching children about other faiths, countries and customs helps them understand and enjoy the diversity and hugeness of the world. This celebration of spring with a focus on flowers also helps them see how small the world is and how much we share. Have fun!