hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:43:32 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.

Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Top Left Corner

Top Right Corner

Top Right Corner
Home Top English | Français Sitemap Search Partners Help
Home Bottom
  • Home
  • Land of Opportunity
  • Settlement
  • Rural Life
  • Links
  • Resources
  • Contact Us!
  • Heritage Community Foundation
  • Heritage Community Foundation Logo

The Heritage Trails are presented courtesy of CKUA Radio Network and Cheryl Croucher

CKUA Radio Network logo

Visit Alberta Source!

Government of Alberta

Government of Canada

 

Cemetery Day in Raymond

Listen to this Heritage Trail

Japanese people began migrating to the prairies in the early 1900s. Those who settled in Raymond, Alberta, continued observing the most important festival of their Buddhist tradition.

As historian David Goa explains, this is called the Feast for the Ancestor.

And in Japan it's common for people to go home on that occasion. I don't know that the computers stop running, but it comes awfully close to that - it's a huge festival in Japan.
And people will go to the local cemetery sites, the local columbarium where the ashes of their ancestors are. They will create, if you will, pathways from the cemetery to the gate of their home, to the threshold of their home, and they will create a space in the home for the ancestor.
It is a time to remember those who go before you.
In modern secular society, we have almost no language for this, no way of doing this. But this is highly abnormal. For most of the human family, there is always a regard for those who have gone before.

The Buddhist festival made quite an impression on the other residents of Raymond, especially the Mormons, who also value their ancestral heritage.

To me, one of the most wonderful things that I've run across in my work, is how at Raymond, Alberta, some years back, the local community had noticed over the years that their good friends and neighbors, the Japanese Buddhists, on this particular day in the summertime, usually in August - the Buon Festival - would go together up to the cemetery, just outside the confines of Raymond, and pay some attention, bring some fruit and what have you, lay it on the grave, open the door of the columbarium, have a brief service of thanksgiving for the ancestor there.
So the Burgermeisters of Raymond approached the Japanese community and talked about this wonderful thing that they were seeing and asked if it would be okay if they were to declare O Buon the Cemetery Day for the town, so that everybody in the town would then give this some attention.

And that's how Cemetery Day came to be celebrated in Raymond each summer.

On the Heritage Trail,

I'm Cheryl Croucher.

Close this window

Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on the history of settlement in Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.