Each year, April 8 is celebrated as the birth of Buddha Shâkyamuni. This historical holiday is called Hana Matsuri (which literally means flowers’ day), also known as Kanbutsue.
According to an ancient legend, Buddha cried out the day of his own birth: “The skies, the Earth and me are but one and only being”. That is the reason why during Hana Matsuri, each temple in Japan has its own little pavilion, decorated with flowers and a statue of baby Buddha pointing a finger at the sky, and another at the Earth.
Each believer spends a moment at the feet of these statuettes and water the little Buddha with a sweetened tea called amacha – obtained with crushed Japanese hydrangea leaves. Some people even bring back some amacha home, to drink of this so-called holy water.
Throughout Hana Matsuri, processions go down the decorated streets while men carry flowered structures representing Buddha. Like all Spring Festivals, this holiday also is an opportunity to pray so as to keep demons away and to grow good crops!