SAN FRANCISCO — Join us for the Asian Art Museum’s 36th annual New Year Bell Ringing Ceremony. This year’s program will be held virtually for a second year as holiday gatherings continue to be reinvented and renewed. 

We begin with a short welcome and discussion with the Rev. Gengo Akiba, his wife, Yoshie Akiba, and Eri Takahashi, who are joining us from the Akiba’s Oakland Zen temple, Kojin-an. The program features prerecorded content filmed at Kojin-an and Tenpyozan, a retreat center the Akibas are constructing in Lake County, California.

In addition to the traditional blessing by Rev. Akiba, the chanting of the Heart Sutra, and the purifying 108 rings of a Buddhist temple bell, this year’s event also includes a look behind-the-scenes of the preparation activities at Kojin-an. We will learn about the meditative process of cleaning the temple, special seasonal decorations and foods, and the temple’s New Year tea practices. 

The bell will be struck 108 times to usher in the new year and curb the 108 mortal desires (bonno) that, according to Buddhist belief, torment humankind. As you listen to each ring of the bell, imagine leaving behind the unfortunate experiences, regrettable deeds, or ill luck from 2021.

Tune in with the whole family at 10 a.m. for our New Year Bell Ringing Storytelling Program. And explore recipes, activities and more you can do at home in celebration of the New Year.

Reserve free tickets:

This event will be livestreamed to YouTube and Facebook Live. 

Schedule of Events 

10–10:45 a.m.: Japanese New Year Stories for Kids

11–11:30 a.m.: Welcome remarks by The Barbara Bass Bakar Director and CEO Dr. Jay Xu, Followed by discussion of New Year’s preparations at Kojin-an Temple

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Bell Ringing Ceremony

Cultural Celebrations are made possible by Bank of America. Support for the Asian Art Museum’s Japanese Bell-Ringing Ceremony is provided by The Henri & Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation. Additional support is provided by AARP. 

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