17 - March 22, Friday – Wednesday
Higan is a Buddhist holiday exclusively celebrated by Japanese sects for seven days; three days before and after both the Spring equinox and Autumnal equinox. It is observed by nearly every Buddhist school in Japan. The tradition extends from mild weather that occurs during the time of equinoxes, though the origin of the holiday dates from Emperor Shōmu in the 8th century. People who normally worked in the fields had more leisure time to evaluate their own practices, and to make a renewed effort to follow Buddhism. The seasons beginning to change is a symbol that Buddhists should change their lives in order to reach enlightenment. Today, special services are usually observed in Japanese Buddhist temples, and Japanese temples abroad, based on the particular Buddhist tradition or sect.