Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Summer Purification Ritual

The Great Purification Ceremony is held in shrines and temples in Japan on June 30th, the last day of the first half of the year.

I participated in the ceremony of Yasaka Shrine.

Some male participants were wearing formal kimono.

Shinto purification by "hito-gata" utilizes a human-shaped paper doll which is a worshiper rubs over the body and blows breath upon to transfer any illness or impurity. It is then inscribed with name and age and returned to the shrines with a small money offering.

At the end of the ceremony, we walked through a chi-no-wa (a huge ring of reed), to atone for our sins in the first half of the year, and to pray for happiness in the remaining half of the year.

The ceremony ended after 30 minutes, but people can walk through the Chi-no-wa any time.

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