BIRTHDAYS ARE VERY SPECIAL TO MOST OF us. Family members, friends, and sometime the community, celebrate one's birthday with great feeling of joy and happiness. Here in Hawaii, many people observe a Yakudoshi party. This special event is not only a Japanese ethnic event, but is also held by other ethnic groups.
Do you know the meaning of "Yakudoshi"? There are two Kanji characters that make this word. One is "Yaku " and other one is "Doshi ." The meaning of each letter is as follows. Yaku means "Evil fortune, ill luck, evil, misfortune..." and Doshi means "age and year." So the meaning of "Yakudoshi" is “bad unfortunate year.” Yakudoshi is celebrated by both male and female, but at a different age. I don't know who made such a thing in our society. It is said that this is the main bad year (Hon Yaku) and with it there are two more bad years which is bad year a year before the main bad year (Hon Yaku) and a bad year a year after the main bad year so it is called "Mae yaku and Ato yaku" in Japanese. For those people who are approaching that age, they are kind of cautious about how they act those three years.
"Yakudoshi" means literally unfortunate year. During this time of this age, a human's physical condition will reach the peak but without knowing this fact, most of the time we feel that we can do many extra work so it will be kind of an over load, and the body is not able to accept heavy work, but without knowing your own body's capacity, people do extra work, then with many circumstances, our body is not able to accept any more, then people get hurt. It is just like a balloon. The balloon can take certain levels of air, but if we put too much air, the balloon will burst. So, this Yakudoshi is telling us that we have to take good care of ourselves to have a wonderful life with our family. It is not an unfortunate year but it is guiding us to take care of ourselves. I am not sure when and where the "Yakudosh
I am not sure when and where the "Yakudoshi" system was started, however, Shinto Shrines and many of the Buddhist temples have adopted this special event in their services and is offering special ways of salvation or healing with special prayers or items for people to purchase from their organization's original goods as a protection from the Yakudoshi. I think people who purchase these items from their organization use these items to give them a piece mind of safety or "Anshin." But, I don't know whether it works for them or not. But the important thing is the person has to take care of their health.
In the Edo era, the average person's life span was just around 50 years old so you may be able to agree with this information. I think at the age of 50, it considered that their physical ability was equivalent to 70 years old and plus today's age. On top of that, even if people did not eat rich food like today, their food didn't have great nutrition and they took extra salt on their dish and once people become sick like the flu, with their medical understanding, skills, and equipment they were not able to cure those issues. I am sure they didn't have great medications which we have in present society. This kind of information is continuing to be passed on to the next generation to generation without having true proof.
Namo Amida Butsu