A Search For Traditions- The New Year Bell
I'm not very good with family traditions. I get tired of doing things again and again each year. The one family tradition that we established and have been quite good at doing year after year since we had children is that every New Years Eve, we sit around making New Year's hats. Usually they come out quite ridiculous....
It's a great tradition, but after ten years of doing this consistently I'm a bit tired of it. This year we decided to search for a new tradition, especially since the girls are older now and can stay up later. So at 11:30pm we headed out to the end of the peninsula at Shelter Island to ring the Yokohama Friendship Bell. A Japanese tradition run by Buddhist monks, people line up to ring the bell 108 times as this is the number of human imperfections that the Buddhists recognize (I think that's generous, a lot of religions would put another "0" on that number!).
We stood in a long line and the monks did a brief "sutra" or prayer. The the line began to move forward as people crossed a little bridge and up the steps , weaving around behind the bell to ring it.
As we approached the bell became louder and louder.
The girls were shaking with excitement as they anticipated their chance to swing the big log!
As we wove around the ringing bell I could feel my fillings vibrate in my teeth!
Naomi barely tapped the bell with the big log. They called her back and helped her give a good "gong". Mike bounced the log off the bell with a an amazing sound. Phoebe had trouble but did better than Naomi. Chloe and I were about the same with an average thump. Here's a blurry picture of me giving it a shot!
As we walked away more and more people wove up the steps to ring the bell...
We wandered over to the little table with Buddhist pamphlets, cookies and candy. While we munched on the little cookies, Phoebe looked at me with excitement in her eyes and said, "Mommy, can we do this again next year?"
"Sure!" I grinned. "Happy New Year!"