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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Daitōsai (Saitama)
The Daitōsai takes place at Hikawa Jinja in Ōmiya City, Saitama Prefecture, on December 10. In the evening, a bonfire is built in the shrine grounds (keidai). Some say that touching the flames helps one to escape danger and calamity and thus, in the past, the festival was called the Ohisai (Fire Festival). As the approach to the shrine is densely lined with street stalls, the festival is also known as the Tōkamachi (Ten-day Market) or the Daikokuichi (Daikoku Market), and the area is crowded with people. From November 30 to December 9, a ritual known as the zensai (pre-purification) starts at ten o'clock in the evening. After this ten-day period, another ritual is conducted on the tenth at three in the afternoon. The notable aspect of this ritual is found in the various offerings (shinsen) of rice, sacred wine, hyakutorizen ("One Hundred Offering Trays"), diamond shaped rice cakes, Chinese yams, shrimp, small carp on skewers and other things. There are eight different saltwater and freshwater foods on the hyakutorizen as well as eight different types of edible wild plants. The gosai (post-purification) ritual is held on the eleventh of December. After worshipping at the sessha (auxiliary shrines) and the massha (branch shrines), according to ancient custom a naorai is held at the kaguraden. This ritual is known as the fukugei shinji as it primarily consists of prayers for good luck during the coming year.

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