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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » State Rites
Chinka sai (hana shizume matsuri)
"Rite to appease the kami of the bloom." Also called "hana shizume matsuri." One of the rites prescribed in the Jingiryō. In ancient times, the Department of Divinities would go to Ōmiwa and Sai shrines in Yamato province and the give offerings to the shrine attendants at each in order to have rituals performed. People of the time believed that with the scattering of blossoms in the spring, spirits of pestilence and plague (ekishin) set out in all directions to spread illness. In order to prevent this, people held these ceremonies in the third lunar month. It seems a similar event occurred among the general public. Officially, though, the rites were held at the two shrines of Ōmiwa and Sai. At Ōmiwa Jinja, this was because the shrine was both highly valued by the imperial court and was originally created specifically to ward off illness-causing demons. At Sai Jinja, this was because Sai was the shrine where offerings were made to the "ferocious side" (ara-mitama) of the kami Ōmiwas spirit. The Department of Divinities involvement in these rites ceased in the medieval era, but the shrines themselves have continued to conduct the festival on their own terms to this day.

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