Prayers for Peace in Each Country
Ms. Miuchi’s hopeful message and Yuka Saionji’s joyful announcement set the stage for a grand ceremony of Prayers for Peace in Each Country. This ceremony, which has been performed for decades in locations across the globe, honors all the nations, regions, and peoples of the world with earnest prayers for peace. The flag of each nation is presented as a sacred symbol representing the hopes and wishes of all the people in that country.
A gentle yet powerful orchestral score filled the Prayer Field, and from the back of the Prayer Field, flag bearers carrying the flags of 193 countries and an Earth flag—representing all other regions and the planet as a whole—proceeded elegantly through the aisles to the area in front of the stage. Participants loudly applauded the colorful array of the world’s flags as they passed by.
The flag bearers then lined up on either side of the stage for the prayer ceremony. With the sound of a bell, participants joined in reciting the universal prayer May peace prevail on Earth. Then, each country’s name was announced as its flag was presented at center stage, and participants prayed May peace be in (name of country) in the national language(s) of that country. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, participants prayed for peace in 193 nations. In a new addition this year, all participants were given a large laminated flag card before the start of the event. When a country’s name was called, participants with that country’s flag held it high in the air, adding to the energy of the prayers.
Lastly, the Earth flag was presented, and participants prayed, May peace be in all the other regions of the world. The announcer noted that these regions included North Korea, Taiwan, Palestine, and Tibet. Then, with the prayer May peace prevail on Earth and the sound of the bell, the prayer ceremony came to a close.
Following the peace prayer ceremony, Byakko Deputy Chairperson Yuka Saionji offered her closing remarks.