All the deets are below. Show up early (or better yet, become a member and show up earlier still) and maybe you and the fam will get a chance to ring the big bell yourself, thereby striking a blow against one of the 108 earthly desires.
This is how it’ll look:
(And then, on January 9th, it’ll be rice pounding time at the Mochisuki Mochi Pounding Ceremony.)
See you there!
24th Annual Japanese New Year
Bell Ringing Ceremony
A unique, fun, and family friendly way to ring in the new year!
Thursday, December 31, 2009
FREE with museum admission
Children 12 and under always admitted free!
9:30–11:00 am: Bell Ringing for Asian Art Museum Members
10:00 am–2:00 pm: Art Activities
11:00 am: Bell Ringing Ceremony
Say goodbye to 2009 with family and friends…by taking a swing at a giant temple bell!
Bring your loved ones to the Asian Art Museum and literally “ring in” the New Year, Japanese-style.
Everyone is invited to participate in the auspicious Japanese tradition of striking a temple bell. This popular event offers the community a memorable opportunity to reflect peacefully upon the passing year.
As in past observances, a 2100-lb., sixteenth-century Japanese bronze bell originally from a temple in Tajima Province in Japan and now part of the museum’s permanent collection will be struck 108 times with a large custom-hewn log. According to Japanese custom, this symbolically welcomes the New Year and curbs the 108 bonno (mortal desires) which, according to Buddhist belief, torment humankind.
It is hoped that with each reverberation the bad experiences, wrong deeds, and ill luck of the past year will be wiped away. Thus, tolling heralds the start of a joyous, fresh New Year.
There will be a short performance of Japanese folk songs preceding the ceremony. Then, Zen Buddhist priest Gengo Akiba Roshi will conduct a blessing and begin the bell ringing. Akiba Roshi is director of the Soto Zen Buddhism North American office. He is also Zen teacher at Oakland’s Kojin-an Zendo.
Hands-on art activities are offered in the education studios to entertain families while waiting for their turn at the bell. Guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy the special exhibition, Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma.
Numbered tickets to ring the bell are assigned to visitors on a first-come, first-serve basis in South Court beginning at 10:00 am, when the museum opens to the public. No advance reservations are accepted. 108 groups of four to six people will be assembled to strike the bell.
Bell Ringing for Asian Art Museum Members
Asian Art Museum members are invited to a special members-only bell-ringing ceremony at 9:30 am. Doors open at 9:00 am. Numbered tickets distributed at the Membership Desk. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org