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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » State Rites
Ainame sai
Also called ainie no matsuri or ainbe no matsuri. In ancient times, this festival was held at select shrines several days prior to the niinamesai festival to celebrate the new harvest. The first documentary mention of the term occurs in Nihonshoki in Emperor Tenmus reign, fifth year, in the third day (hinoto tori) of the tenth month (676). In that case, the festival was conducted in the tenth month, but the Jingiryō records the rite as being celebrated on the first "day of the Hare" in the eleventh month. Under the of ritsuryō system, Imperial tribute (heihaku) was disbursed through the Jingikan to the supervisors (hafuribe) of shrines performing the festival. According to the Tenpyō ni nen Yamato kuni seizei chō dankan, the shrine Ōmiwa-sha and seven of its associated shrines received this tribute, while the Ryōnogige lists the shrine Yamato-sha (presently called Ōyamato Jinja) and eight associated shrines as recipients. The Ryōnoshūge (a.k.a. Ryōshaku) specifies Yamato-sha and fifteen of its associated shrines received tribute, and the Engishiki lists Futonoto-sha and forty-one associated shrines as recipients. One theory holds that the geographical distribution of these shrines was established when imperial authority was concentrated in southern Yamato. There is no consensus regarding the origins of the festivals significance. Since there are many similarities with the Niiname sai, there are a variety of arguments regarding the associations between the two. Among the various ancient festivals, the ainame sai is the most readily forgotten, but this also may be due to the resemblance of the two festivals and a blurring of the two.

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