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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Rituals in Daily Life
Sagichō
This is the fire festival event usually held on the fifteenth of January. It can be found throughout most of the country, but is referred to by different names (including tondo, dondonyaki, saitōyaki, bokkengyō, and sankurōyaki) depending on the region. There is also a fair amount of regional variation in the date and content of the event. One explanation for the origin of the word Sagichō, holds that, because it is homonymous with the word for "heron," it is connected to bird-hunting or bird-chasing. There are many other explanations, however, including one that its name comes from the word gijō (the stick used in a polo-like game introduced from China). However, the true origin has yet to be determined. Whatever its origins, the event itself involves assembling, stacking, and burning the pine New Year's door ornaments of each household at a set location such as the village border, the village square, or a particular field. There are cases in which these activities are conducted as sacred events at shrines, including such examples as Matsutaki matsuri or the Shimeyaki shinji. There are other cases in which they are combined with Sai no kami- or Dōsojin-related rites and bird-chasing events. Also, in Kyūshū, a similar kind of fire festival event called the Onibi or the Onibitaki is held on the sixth or seventh day of January. In some regions it is called Toshikoshitondo, and on New Year's Eve one can see events in which old kami boundary ropes (shimenawa) and disused household kami altars (kamidana) are collected and burned.

— Iwai Hiroshi
A sagichō festival held at Akatsuka Suwa Jinja.

Tokyo, 2006

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