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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Uzue shinji
Rabbit-staff rite. A rite held on January fifteenth at Itakiso Jinja in Wakayama City, Wakayama prefecture. Thirteen sticks of cut bamboo are inserted into cooked rice gruel. The richness or meagerness of the year's crops is divined by how the bamboo enters the gruel. This rite has continued from long ago, and the uzue (staff of the rabbit zodiac sign) has disappeared from the ritual, leaving only its name.
       On January seventh, which is known as the day of the seven greens (nanakusa no hi), Ikukunitama Jinja in Tennōji-ku, Osaka, holds a wakabasai (festival of new leaves) in which seven varieties of young greens are eaten to prevent all illnesses. The shrine also holds an uzue matsuri, in which uzue staffs are offered to the kami for protection from demons.
       On the same day, there is a ritual striking of demon mask with uzue during the onisube (devil-expelling rite) at the shrine Dazaifutenmangū.

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