Hoonko - Memorial Service for St. Shinran

The Hoonko, held in December and January, is a memorial service for the founder of the Buddhist sect Jodo shinshu, St. Shinran, a son of a nobleman of the Fujiwara clan who was born on January 16, 1173.

In the 1930s in Raymond, Hoonko used to be held over two days - all day Saturday and Saturday night service until midnight - children took blankets to the temple and slept there. In the morning, the ladies would make breakfast of rice and miso soup with another service starting around 7:00 am.

After breakfast, there was chanting of some of the important works of Shinran Shonin (which means Saint in Japanese) until noon and then all went home. Most Buddhists in Ontario, British Columbia and southern Alberta follow the Jodo shinshu teachings.