This rather fine hollyhock I observed growing in Lincolnshire. This vivid plant is the focus of one of Japan’s most famous festivals, the Aoi Matsuri (葵祭). It began in the 7th century, although its precise origins are uncertain. Some natural disasters were occurring that were believed to be caused by the deities of the Kamo shrines; the emperor made offerings to the gods, the disasters subsided and a tradition started that is still observed. Hollyhock leaves are worn by participants and the flowers' pretty colours reflected in the clothing. Much as I respect the Japanese people and admire their modern, technologically-driven economy, this festival proves them as misguided as all other nations and races. Offerings to imaginary gods cannot save a land from natural disasters, but only supplication to the one Creator-God. He who made the beautiful hollyhock as well as the Japanese people, made Himself a man that He might live among us, die for us, and be resurrected ahead of us. Look not to the hollyhock, but the God who made it.

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained Acts 17:30-31