Releasing Little Birds In Temple

Ritual of releasing birds taking place in the precinct of Jin De Yuan
Shot at Jin De Yuan, a Chinese temple in Jakarta, Indonesia Tetsu Ozawa

Some baskets with little birds were placed and the ritual of releasing birds was taking place in Jin De Yuan

There was a small space near the incense burner placed in the precinct of a Chinese temple called Jin De Yuan in Jakarta. Several white baskets with little birds in them were put on the ground. The little birds were busy to chirp in the baskets. They were put into these baskets for release.

A woman and a girl were bent over the side of the basket. These two seemed to be in charge of opening the lid of the cage and releasing the little bird outside. I watched for a while, and then they opened the lid of the cage. As they wait, the birds flutter out of the cage and into the sky. The release of the birds was complete.

The release of birds and other living creatures after they are caught and released alive. By doing so, they are said to be able to accumulate merit. The two persons who opened the cage had gained some virtue.

It is not so rare to witness the moment of release in Southeast Asia. I've seen it in Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar. It seems to be a common ritual in Southeast Asia. And I often saw people who made ready little birds for release at the gates of temples. On the other hand, it is not so common in Japan. But the festival of Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine held on August 15 of the lunar calendar is famous.


Where is Jin De Yuan in Jakarta?




Shooting Date

Jan 2020

Posted On

June 15, 2020


Jakarta, Indonesia


Street Photography





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