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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Rituals in Daily Life
Reisai, nensai
This term refers to one of the events performed for the ancestral spirits (soreisai) in Shintō. This event is held a certain number of years after the funeral to remember the spirit of the deceased and is an equivalent to the Buddhist memorial service (nenki hōyō). In Shintō it is usually performed in the 1st, the 5th and the 10th year, and in the 50th year the last nensai is held. The sequence of years when the ceremony is performed differs from that of Buddhism, but they share the common characterstic of stopping in a certain year. This last memorial service is commonly called nenki age or tomurai age. However, in today's Shintō this model does not necessarily always apply. There are cases where the spirit of the deceased is enshrined (gōshi) in the shrine of the ancestral spirits (soreisha, also see sorei) after the 1st year's memorial service, or that even after the 50th memorial service a nensai is held every 100th year. These types of ceremonies in which the memory of the deceased is cherished are closely connected with funeral rites. In the Edo period funerals in a Shintōist style (shinsōsai) were generally not sanctioned, so there were not many opportunities to perform festivals for the ancestral spirits such as reisai. However, some think that with the spread of the Shintōist funeral in the Meiji period, the number of reisai also increased. Today during the actual ceremony food and wine (shinsen) are offered, Shintō prayers (norito) are read and a twig of the sacred sakaki tree decorated with paper strips (tamagushi) is offered.
See also Shinsōsai (Shinto Funeral Rites)

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