It is a Japanese tradition so this Filipino guy found the experience quite a novelty. While I feel nostalgic that the holidays are over, I am hopeful for 2014. Happy New Year everyone.
I don't know how long the the Asian Art Museum has been hosting the bell ringing. I truly appreciate the museum for putting together this bell ringing so that people in San Francisco can experience this cultural event that originated in Asia. The museum opened its doors as early as 9:30am for museum members. Mijo and I, as always, were late and arrived at 10am.
We learned that the bell must be struck 108 times. The 108 represents the number of mortal desires that torment the world. The participants were grouped and took turns striking the bell only once. A group may contain a maximum of 8 people. We were assigned #92 when we got our tickets that morning. Judging by this number, we realized that the majority of the crowd got there early.
We also missed the first part of the ceremony because people were already ringing the bell by the time we got to the Samsung Hall. Mijo and I were at museum member-only event. The museum opened the bell ringing to non-members but not until 11:30am.
I was quite pleased because the crowd cooperated and was totally silent so the revervirating sound of the bell dominated in the hall. The bell is a giant 2,100 pound 16th century Japanese temple bell.
Since the ceremony requires the bell be struck 108 times, a group was sometimes mixed in order to form a group of 6-8 members. When Mijo and I got our turn, #92, we were grouped with another couple and that was fine. A few visitors didn't understand the concept and went ahead and struck the bell alone or without waiting for the others.
There were also times when people left before their number was called. In this case, there were volunteers who came up and struck the bell.
There is something soothing about the sound of the bell. It is loud without being irritating and yet it is clear and pure.
As a Filipino, this is totally different from what I am accustomed to. In the Philippines, we leave the year and at the same time greet the New Year with a loud bang. In this bell ringing ceremony, we left the 2013 and welcomed 2014 with one strike of the bell.
Happy New Year everyone. I pray more love and happiness to everyone.