Monday, July 14, 2008

day 196 - yudate and chinowa

Yesterday (Sunday) we were invited to the local Ohtoshi Shinto Shrine to participate in religious ceremonies to bring good fortune to us in the coming year. First we walked three times through the Chinowa, which is a large circle of woven rush (possibly the same as the stuff used for tatami - it's purpose-grown on a nearby river bank.) This is a purification rite, or removal of bad luck. 

After paying our respects at the shrine we were presented with a mini-Chinowa to hang over our door or gate-way. Then the Shinto priest conducted the Yudate ceremony. After a chanted prayer he dipped bamboo into boiling water (strangely reminiscent for me of cooking crabs back in South Australia!) and flicked us all with the sacred water. We were made to feel very welcome at the ancient ceremony, which has only been recently revived after languishing for many years.
Thankyou Saito-san (pictured, in the Chinowa) for the invitation.

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