Weekend Story: Benten Festival for Sea Goddess of Japan

by OldSailor on July 27, 2008

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Here is the story of ‘ Benten – The Goddess of the Sea ‘ (above photo) of Japan for this weekend. This month, on July 02 during the lowest tide of the year, the people of Shiraishi Island, Japan celebrated Benten Festival. The festival is to thank the ‘ Goddess of the Sea – Benten ‘. The Benten island where the goddess of the sea resides, is closer to Shiraishi Island. Only on the lowest tide of the year one can reach Benten island by walk. Shiraishi Island can be reached in 40 minutes through ferry from the Port of Kasaoka (here is the location map).

Some of the interesting features of ‘ Benten – The Sea Goddess ‘ are:

  • Benten is the only female goddess out of the ‘ Seven Lucky Gods ‘ of Japan.
  • Benten is also known as Benzaiten, Daibenzaiten, Myouonten, Bionten in Japan.
  • Benten is in fact is linked to Indian mythology, to the river Saraswati.
  • Benten is also the goddess of music, learning, eloquence, wealth, longevity, and protection from natural disasters.
  • This is the reason why many Japanese temples and shrines dedicated to Benten, including those at Itsukushima, Enoshima and Chikubushima are located near water.
  • Benten has eight arms with hands that hold a bow, arrow, sword, axe, spear, long pestle, iron wheel, and silk rope.

Here are the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan.

seven_gods_japan

Image Source: JAANUS

Here is a video clip of ‘ Mitsubishi Pure Gold of Seven Lucky Gods ‘

Photograph of Benten is by Amy Chavez and more information on Benten Festival is available in her blog The Daily Mooo.

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