December 31, 2014 Slideshows

Ringing in the New Year 

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Folks gathered at the Asian Art Museum to "ring in" the New Year by striking a 2100-lb., 16th century Japanese bronze bell from the museum's collection. Based on Japanese custom, the joya no kane (end of the year bell) is struck 108 times before midnight on December 31st, ushering in the New Year and curbing the 108 bonno or mortal desires which, according to Buddhist belief, torment humankind. In Japan, the last toll traditionally coincides with the first few seconds of the New Year. The Asian Art Museum's 29th Annual Japanese New Year's Bell-ringing ceremony was led by Rev. Gengo Akiba, with opening dance performed by Yoshie Akiba (founder and namesake of Yoshi’s Jazz Club). The ceremony included a purification ritual and chanting of the Buddhist Heart Sutra. Rev. Akiba begins the bell ringing, followed by the public taking turns ringing the bell 108 times.
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