On Saturday, we welcomed the new year with the 26th annual Japanese bell ringing ceremony. In this annual tradition visitors, led by a Buddhist priest, mark New Year by ringing a 2100-lb., sixteenth-century Japanese bronze bell originally from a temple in Tajima Province in Japan. Now part of the museum’s collection, the bell will be struck 108 times with a large custom-hewn log. According to custom in several Buddhist cultures, this symbolically welcomes the New Year and curbs the 108 mortal desires (bonno) which, according to Buddhist belief, torment humankind.
This video shows our preparations team building the belfry and hanging the bell ready for is ceremonial duties.
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