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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Rituals in Daily Life
Hatsumiyamōde
"First shrine visit," this term refers to the first pilgrimage to the tutelary deity (ujigami) after the birth of a child. It is also more simply called miyamairi. It is also referred to with terms such as hiake, hibare, ubuake, shimeage, which mean that on this day the newborn child's period of taboo ends. In the case of a boy it usually takes place on the thirtysecond day after birth; in the case of a girl it takes place on the thirtythird day. However, depending on the region there are also places where in early cases it is held on the seventh day after birth and in late cases after more than a hundred days. Along with offering prayers for the fortunate growth of the child, hatsumiyamōde was originally a ceremony in which the child was socially acknowledged as a new parishioner (ujiko). On this day immediate family and relatives present festive dress to the child and clothe him or her in it. In the case of a boy the character "big" is written in red on his forehead, and it is the custom to deliberately make the child cry in front of the deity. This is said to be done in order to draw the deity's attention to the child and to pray for the deity's divine protection. The child's period of taboo is said to last for thirtythree days and that of the parents for seventyfive days. Since at the time of hatsumiyamōde the mother's period of taboo is not yet over, very often the baby was traditionally carried by the mother-in-law or the midwife during the visit to the shrine. However, today the idea of taboo has been lost and it has become common practice for the mother to also take part in the shrine visit. Nevertheless, even today there are places where, depending on the region, the miyamairi on the thirtieth day goes only as far as the torii, and on the seventyfifth day or the hundredth day goes as far as directly before the deity.

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