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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Rituals in Okinawa and Amami
Hinukan ("fire deity")
A folk belief throughout Amami and Okinawa. As a variant of the name, Umichimon (lit. "honorable three things") suggests, originally the traditional three-stone hearth itself was worshipped, the stones being considered "conductors" (yorimashi) of the fire deity. Today this type of hearth has disappeared and in most kitchens a ceramic censer (okōro) is worshipped as the symbol of the fire deity (hi no kami). The senior female member of the family offers prayers to the fire deity as the protector of the household. Worship of the fire god is very old and predates worship of ancestral spirits (sorei) at the Buddhist altar, now the center of family ritual. When the woman who performs the household ritual dies, the ashes in the censer are changed. Priestesses such as niigan and noro also venerate the Hinukan, and a public form of the deity also exists. The Hinukan may still be venerated using three stones. Hinukan veneration can also be understood as a way of worshipping Nirai-kanai from afar.

—Saitō Michiko
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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