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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Offerings and Talismans
Sangu, Sanmai
Also called uchimaki, rice offered or scattered before the kami on the occasion of worship or purification (harae), or the ritual of offering rice in this way. According to one theory, the two terms sangu and sanmai have roughly the same meaning, while another holds that sanmai should be considered one type of sangu. In the latter view, sanmai refers to scattering rice, while sangu can refer not only to rice, but also to sake, beans, and other items. It is thought that the use of rice in purification stems from a background of beliefs in the magical powers of the grain. Although the terms sanmai and sangu involve the sense of "scattering," offerings may not always be dispersed, but alternately heaped up in a container and presented as ordinary offerings (shinsen). An offering placed before the kami may also be called ohineri, and some believe it represented the original form of later saisen. Specifically, worshippers would wrap rice in pieces of paper and toss or set them on the offering box. In later times, metallic coins were substituted for rice, and such offerings of currency are now the norm. See also saisen.

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