Tag Archives: 記念式典

Remembrance Sunday: National Commemoration @ Whitehall

CenotaphPoppy Appeal @ Oxford Circus

今日11月8日はRemembrance Sunday(休戦記念日曜日)、Remembrance Day(リメンバランス・デー/戦没者追悼記念日)の記念式典が行われた。Poppy Day(ポピーの日)、Armistice Day(第一次大戦の休戦記念日)、Veterans Day(退役軍人の日)とも呼ばれるRemembrance Dayは、第一次世界大戦とその後の戦争の死者を追悼する日で、1918年11月11日に連合国ドイツ帝国の間で休戦協定が締結されたことに因み、11月11日と定められている。当日11月11日にも2分間の黙祷が捧げられるが、通常、Remembrance Sundayと呼ばれる11月の第2週目の日曜日に、ロンドンのWhitehallホワイトホール)にあるCenotaph(慰霊碑)前で、王室関係者や政府要人が参加して行われる国の追悼式典のほか、各地の戦争記念碑(war memorials)で慰霊祭が行われる。


この時期、イギリスでは、胸に紙製の赤いポピーの花をつけている人を多く見かける。これは、1921年にRoyal British Legion(英国在郷軍人会)が、戦没者への募金を集めるために赤いポピーを売ったのが始まりで、第一次世界大戦の激戦地・西部戦線(フランドル戦線)のあった、フランダース地方に多く生えている赤い芥子の花(フランダース・ポピー)に由来しており、赤い色は戦争で流された血を意味する。この紙製のポピーは、退役軍人によって作られており、英国在郷軍人会の名の下で、街角での募金活動やスーパーなどの店頭で販売され、収益は退役軍人のサポートに当てられる。上の写真はオックスフォード・サーカスの街角での募金活動。下の写真は、Angel(エンジェル)の街角で、赤いタータンチェックのキルトに身を包んで、道行く人と楽しそうに話しながら募金活動していたおじいさんをスーパーで発見、こっそり撮影させていただきました。

Today is Remembrance Sunday and the Remembrance Day national commemoration was held in London’s Whitehall. The remembrance day, also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day (the event it commemorates) or Veterans Day, is a day to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of wars since the First World War. It is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918, when German signed the Armistice. Although two minutes of silence are observed on 11 November itself, but on Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November), ceremonies are held at local war memorials nationwide, and the national commemoration is held at Cenotaph in Whitehall to remember those men and women who have died in action serving their country.

Under the gray sky at the this year’s national commemoration in Whitehall, the Queen Elizabeth laid the first wreath of poppy flowers at the start of a 20-minute religious service, in front of the prime minister, military leaders, representatives of the world’s religions, and Commonwealth representatives. After two-minute silence at 11 am, 7,500 ex-service personnel and 1,600 civilians marched past the Cenotaph. →BBC news

Around the Remembrance Day, you see many people wearing red poppy flower made of paper, as a sign of remembrance. The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies (Flanders poppy) that bloomed across one of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, with their red color which is an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare. This artificial poppies are made by veterans and are sold on behalf of the Royal British Legion on the street by volunteers or at the stores. The sale go towards supporting former soldiers. The photo above is the fund raising at the junction of Oxford Circus. The photo below is the old gentleman in red tartan kilt, who sold the poppies at the street corner of Angel and enjoyed chatting with a passerby. I happened to have a chance to take a picture of him (secretly) at the Waitrose supermarket.

Poppy Appeal

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Long Awaited Oxford Street ‘X-crossing’ opened

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しかし、「homage to its Far Eastern inspiration(東洋から得た交差点のインスピレーションへのオマージュ)」とのコンセプトで企画された記念式典は、西洋人の考える典型的な「東洋」のイメージで、アジアの文化がごっちゃまぜ。2mもある大きな銅鑼(スイスのメーカー、パイステ社製)は日本というより中国、太鼓は日本、そして「東京」を意識した、アニメのへんてこな髪型と衣装に身を包んだ居心地悪そうなイギリス人たち。また、「変な」日本のイメージが増幅されそうだわ。

Long awaited Oxford Circus ‘X-crossing’ opened toay, and the celebration for its opening was held at the junction. London mayor Boris Johnson struck a huge cymbal and Japanese musicians played Taiko drums, surrounded by people dressed in Manga (Anime) characters costumes.

Oxford Circus junction is one of the most crowded part in London as located in a heart of the shopping district, where 200 million people visit every year. This £5m diagonal crossing, inspired by the Shibuya X-crossing in Tokyo. The four corners of the junction are used to blocked by barriers. There were a small ‘island’ in the middle the street to divide the crossing in half , therefore, you had to cross 2 signals in order to cross the street. To go to the opposite diagonal corner, you had to choose either passing 4 crossings or going underground with a risk of getting lost among many exits. The area was extremely crowded, and it was like a torture to cross the junction. It’s been over 6 months since the new plan of X-crossing revealed in April – now the junction looks more neat and much easier to cross the street.

By the way, what is all about the ceremony “homage to its Far Eastern inspiration”?? It is a typical image of Westerners about ‘Orientals,’ mixing up all the eastern Asian cultures together (sometimes even with southeast Asia, too, such as Thai etc). The huge 2m-high cymbal (made by Swiss company Paiste) is more like China than Japan, Japanese drums, and the British in peculiar costumes of Anime characters who looked very embarrassed – I am afraid the ceremony would amplify the image of ‘eccentric’ Japan…

Oxford Circus Crossing – before
Oxford Circus intersection before

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