December 20 ~  Stand Up Floating Lanterns & Golden Shrines

"Fall seven times, stand up eight." ~ Japanese Proverb


Today Japan celebrates Ebisu-ko, the festival honoring the Commerce God and the making and spending of money. Jolly Ebisu is the god of business, fishing, and food. The lucky god symbolizes bountiful fishing and business prosperity for merchants in all trades.

"Happiness," said the great philosopher Aristotle, "seems to require a modicum of external prosperity."

One of the seven lucky gods, the Shinto religion called him Kotoshiro-nushi-no-kami. Ebisu is believed to be the child of Izanagi and Izanami, the mythological couple who formed the island of Japan.

The bearded Ebisu holds a fishing rod in one hand and tucks the big pink fish--the tai (sea bream)--under his other. The fish is Japan's symbol of celebration (omede-tai). The popular Ebisu represents fair deals and his good graces are ESSENTIAL to success.

About success, The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, once said, "The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart."

First celebrated in the culturally rich Edo period (1603-1867), the 20th of each month has become Ebisu's en nichi, "special day." Traditionally, on today's final and most important Ebisu-ko, business association held monthly meetings and department stores would plan great year-end sales.

Toka-ebisu, another three-day festival for ebisu, is held in January.

Wishing you continued good fortune...