February 3rd marked the official beginning for the year of the rabbit on the Chinese lunar calendar. LooChoo, or Okinawa, also observes this event, however, its becoming less visible as the majority have changed to the western calendar. Ukwanshin decided to observe the lunar calendar as our ancestors did 2 generations ago, and also to give some sort of glimpse to the identity that we all share in preserving and passing down this tradition.
The “sougwachi kai” or shinenenkai, was held at the Jikoen temple with Rev. Nishiyama offering prayers of thanksgiving and to honor the ancesotrs who are interred in the columbarium there. many who were leaders of our Okinawa community’s beginnings. We were actually only expecting around 60, but over 100 came to enjoy and celebrate with food, and traditional Okinawan music and dances to honor the New Year and bring wishes of good luck, health and prosperity. Some of those in attendance said they came because their own sonjinkai or clubs don’t have Okinawan entertainment anymore. As the generations pass, we must try to pass on real traditions of our identity to the younger generation so that there will be a continued breath of our ancestors into the future. Thank you to all who came, and to all who contributed your time, desserts and other food.
Here is also the February copy of our newsletter. Please click to view.