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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Rituals in Daily Life
Hana matsuri
"Flower Festival." In Buddhism the kanbutsue festival, which is also called hana matsuri, is held to celebrate the anniversary of Buddha's birthday on the eighth day of the fourth month of the old lunar calendar, but this term (hana matsuri) was introduced by the Pure Land (Jōdoshū) sect and was adopted by the other Buddhist schools. In the Shintō context, the term hana matsuri usually refers to the "November kagura" (shimotsuki kagura) centered on the yudate ceremony which is held from the end of November until the new year in the area of Kita Shitara-gun in Aichi Prefecture. Formerly it was performed in more than twenty villages of neighboring districts, but today there are some more than ten left. Furthermore, it is becoming common for January 2 through 5 to be designated as festival days (saijitsu). A shrine's haiden, a public hall, or a specially chosen private piece of earthen floor called a hana yado is used as the ritual site (saijō). Participants boil water in a huge kettle (kamado) placed in the center, and perform kagura (sacred dance) around it. With the hana negi (Suppliant Priest) in the lead, several miyaudo (people who come from old families) perform dances and movements using masks such as yamami oni, sakaki oni, asa oni, okina, miko, hi no tama, and mizu no tama to begin the rite. They also perform dances without masks such as hana no mai, ichi no mai, jigatame, mittsu mai, yottsu mai, and yuhayashi. It ends with the rites of sending off (kamiokuri) and pacifying (shizume) the deity. Apart from this there are also other festivals called hana matsuri, mainly held in April, where flowers are offered before deities. The rite which is held on April 18 at the Izumo Daijingū Shrine in Kyōto Prefecture (Kameoka-shi, Chitose-chō) and which is centered around fūryū dances is one, as are other festivals held at places such as Shiogama Jinja Shrine in Miyagi Prefecture, Ikasuri Jinja Shrine in Ōsaka, Niutsuhime Jinja Shrine in Wakayama Prefecture, Ōtori Jinja Shrine in Sakai, and Futarasan Jinja Shrine in Nikkō. Furthermore in the "Nihon shoki" one can also see that the people of the land worshipped the spirit of Izanagi no mikoto by offering flowers during the flower season. Also, one can see decorations of seasonal or artificial flowers in festivals throughout the whole country.

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