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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » State Rites
Tsukinamisai
  One of the rituals from the ancient and medieval eras appearing in the Divinities Prescriptions (JingiryŌ). Carried out twice a year on the eleventh day of the sixth and twelfth lunar months. Attended by the ministers and lesser officials, the various hafuribe (official shrines liaisons to the Department of Divinities Jingikan) were gathered by summons and, after a ritual liturgy (norito) was performed, alms were dispensed to them. One-hundred ninety eight major shrines of the capital and surrounding five provinces, as determined in the Engi Regulations (Engi Shiki), were involved. The Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise jingū) were among these, but in Ises case, offerings were bestowed by an imperial messenger. The same night, the emperor performed an imperial ritual with him partaking of a sacred meal (jinkonjiki). The norito and program of the Tsukinami sai (i.e. the parts of the celebration that do not involve the ministers or emperor) have many elements in common to the New Years Celebrations (Shinnen sai), though lacks the prayers for the new harvest season found in the New Years Celebrations. The first historical record of the celebration appears in the Chronicles of Japan Continued (Shoku Nihongi), in the entry for the "fourth (kishi) day of the seventh lunar month, 702." There are many speculations about the origins, character and meaning of this ritual, but in recent years, some have argued that it was created during the RitsuryŌ reforms as the state ritual corresponding with the ancient jinkonjiki (which had been an imperial household ritual for preserving Ise). Motoori Norinaga advanced the theory that, given its name, the ritual was performed on a monthly basis. This theory is partially accepted, but no historical data exists to support it. The celebration continued up through the medieval era but was abolished in the fifteenth century, after the ōnin Disturbance. Also see Tsukinami sai (Ise jingū)

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