August: 帰省(Kisei

This month’s word is Kisei.

Kisei is a term that means homecoming; the event of someone returning to one’s home town after a long time away. More specifically, this term is normally used when one returns home for the summer holidays, such as for the Obon festival beginning on August 15th. The original definition of kiseiwith the first kanji () is for “return” and the second () kanji for “self-reflection”. During the Obon festival, the Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors’ graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. Therefore it is said that the original meaning of the term is that one should reflect upon themselves in the presence of ones ancestors when they return home for the summer festivals. In modern day there are more people living away from their parents, so kisei has come to mean just simply returning home.

Lang 8