Higanbana: Various meanings of the red spider lily

Do you know Higan-bana? Many of you may be know the blue flower through Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba), however, this is originally crimson colored flower.

In the early autumn or end of summer (after mid-September in these years), it suddenly germinates from the ground like asparagas, without any foriage. The flower is gorgeous and it looks like sparkler. We all love the flowers but flower shop never sells them. Why?

Higanbana’s Higan means the another world or the buddhist holiday with equinox in Japan. We have two of it in a year: Spring and Autumn. In Higan holiday, we visit our graves. So this flower is closely associated with death.


When I see these flowers in temples, graveyards or around Ojizo sculptures in a street at dusk, I always feel melancholy.

While I searching this flower, I learned interesting things. The flowers’ bulbs are poisonous, and the reason why we see them around graveyards and fields is that they keep animals (mice, wild boars etc) away. Meanwhile, these bulbs is effective for swelled knee applying with caster oil.

Tradition folklore prohibits bringing them back to your house not to catch the fire. It might be notice to prevent children eating them. I like these kind of ancient wisdom.    


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