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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Rituals in Daily Life
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 Prefecture's Nishinomiya, and Kyoto's Kennin-ji. Because Ebisu is one of the "seven gods of good fortune" and associated with monetary success in particular, the festival is particularly popular among those involved in commerce. There were once also Ebisu confraternities () held in Edo on January twentieth as hatsu Ebisu, but the tenth was and is customary in Western Japan. At Nishinoimiya's Ebisu Shrine, January ninth is known as Yoi-Ebisu (Ebisu Eve) and January eleventh as nokori-Ebisu (Remaining Ebisu). The celebration there is well known for the custom known as Igomori in which local parishioners (ujiko) observe strict ascetic practices (monoimi). They also close doors and windows, maintain silence, and turn the New Year's pine branches upside down. Beginning at sundown on Yoi-Ebisu, crowds of merchants express their wishes for prosperity all during the new year. Good luck charms called fukusasa ('lucky bamboo-grass', kikkyō ('auspiciousness'), taihō ('great treasure'), or kodakara ('small treasure') and ornamented with things like miniature straw rice bags affixed to bamboo, old-fashioned oval coins (koban), bream, oversized ledgers, or good-luck mallets. These are placed as offerings on the household altar (kamidana); their annual replacement is said to bring good fortune. In Osaka, it is also customary for each family to make a votive offering of daikon radish, taro, and sacred paper strips (go-hei) in the five colors in order obtain good fortune, and it is said that any man who partakes of these offerings will lose his memory, for Ebisu is the god of forgetfulness. According to another widespread tradition, Ebisu is hard of hearing. At the shrine Imamiya Ebisu Jinja, worshippers customarily shout, "We've come! We've come!" and then proceed out the back entrance where they bang on the shrine's siding either with their fists or with small mallets that they have purchased.

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