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Rituals in Daily Life


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Setsubun

"Seasonal Division." Originally, the term referred to the day prior to the first day of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Nowadays, however, it refers only to the day before spring. The old lunar calendar was not related to the earth's orbit around the sun and so did not correspond with the actua...

Shanichi

The tsuchinoe day nearest to the vernal and autumnal equinoxes; the "irregular holiday" (holidays celebrated on days when the sun is not situated at one of the 24 equal divisions of its annual orbit) celebrated on those two days. Individually the two are called shunsha (the "vernal shanichi") and s...

Shichigosan

This is a celebration for three-, five-, and seven-year-old children. Usually for boys the celebratory ages are three and five, and for girls they are three and seven. On November 15th parents dress the child in their best clothes and visit (sankei) their ujigami (tutelary kami) to express gratitud...

Shimotsuki matsuri

The folk harvest festival held in the eleventh month of the old calendar. There is also a court harvest festival wherein the emperor dedicates the new grain on the "day of the rabbit" in that month called the niinamesai, but popular celebration of the shimotsuki occurs on different dates in differe...

Shinobigoto

Words of condolence said to a deceased person. Along with expressing sadness, they also praise the good works performed and merits accrued during that person's lifetime. They are also called 'shinobikotoba;' and 'shinubigoto.' The word first appears in the twentieth volume of the Nihon shoki, accor...

Shinobite

Soundless clapping. Sometimes written as mijikade. In the ritual protocol for Grand Shrine rites, the final silent clap performed after the yahirate (eight claps). Also, in the shinsōsai (Shinto funeral), the silent clap made in front of the kami altar facing the deceased.— Inoue Nobutaka...

Shinsōsai (Shinto Funeral Rites)

The term shinsōsai refers to funeral rites conducted according to Shinto, as opposed to Buddhist, tradition. In the Edo period, by dictate of the Tokugawa shogunate, all Japanese families were required to be registered with a Buddhist temple as part of efforts to suppress Christianity; also as...

Shinzenkekkon (lit. "Marital Rites in the Presence of the Gods")

The term broadly includes all nuptial rites conducted "before a kami," but in common usage today refers to wedding ceremonies performed at shrines or wedding halls by Shinto priests (shinshoku). Already in the late sixteenth century, there was a conscious association between marital observances and...

Shōgatsu

These are the various events in the first month of the year held to greet the new year. Besides the usual hatsumōde, there are imperial rituals like the shihōhai and the saitansai, community rituals, and family rituals like the nenga (New Year's Cards) and the otoshidama (gifts of money)....

Ta'asobi

"Rice-field-plays." Ta'asobi is sometimes conducted during the actual rice-planting season, but generally it occurs at New Year's. It falls into the category of yoshuku-girei, or symbolic or imitative ceremonies to pray for bountiful crop before the growing season. From the plowing of the paddies, ...

Tanabata

"Seventh Night"; Held on the seventh day of the seventh month (i.e. July 7), tanabata was one of the "five seasonal feasts" (gosekku) recognized and established by the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is also generally known as hoshi-matsuri (The Star Festival)., This celebration is first mentioned in the se...

Tango

"Boys' Festival"; Held on the fifth day of the fifth month (May 5) as a celebration for male children, tango was another of the "five seasonal feasts" (gosekku) recognized and established by the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is also generally called the Festival of the Irises. Tan- means "beginning" and -...

Tōka Ebisu

"Tenth Day Festival of Ebisu"; Held on January tenth, this is the first of several ritual celebrations of the year held to honor Ebisu, and is also therefore referred to as hatsu Ebisu ("the First Ebisu"). Well-known local celebrations are those at the Ebisu shrines in Osaka's Imamiya, Hyogo Prefec...

Tori no ichi

"Cock fair." A festival of the shrine Ōtori jinja held on each "day of the cock" in the month of November. The "day of the cock," which returns every twelve days, usually comes round twice during November. In the rare years when it returns three times, it is said that there will be many fires ...

Toshi no ichi

"Year-end fair;" A fair held at the year's end for selling New Year's decorations and miscellaneous goods. Originally, it was the last of the monthly fairs, but its particular popularity was likely due to the simple fact that it sold goods for shōgatsu New Year's celebrations, although another...

Tsukimachi, Himachi

"Waiting for the Moon," and "Waiting for the Sun.""Waiting for the moon" is an occasion when people gather on particular evenings of a lunar cycle (e.g. the seventeenth, nineteenth, twenty second, and twenty third) to eat, drink, and pay homage to the moon as they wait for it to appear. The gathe...

Yamabiraki

"Opening of the mountain," this term refers to the event with which a mountain is first opened for that year's mountain-climbers. The event at the end of the season is called yamajimai ("closing of the mountain"). Since ancient times mountains have been regarded as sacred, being the places to which...



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