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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Nabekamuri matsuri
This "pot hat festival" is held on May 3 at Tsukuma Jinja (Miketsu Jinja) in Maihara Town, Sakata County, Shiga Prefecture. It is an unusual shinkōsai (sacred procession) wherein the progress of the divine palanquin is joined by eight young girls dressed in Heian period clothing, each with a pot made of papier-mâché on her head. This ancient festival has continued since the Heian period and a poem from Ise monogatari (Tales of Ise) also alludes to it: "I wish the festival of Tsukuma in Ōmi would arrive soon, so I could see the number of pots on a heartless lady's head." It might have been common practice for women to worship at the shrine on this day, wearing one pot for each man with whom they had had relations. There are various explanations for the pot hats. For example, because the saijin (the enshrined deity) is the deity of food (Ōmiketsu no kami), newly wed ujiko (parishioner) women are said to have formerly gone to the shrine carrying a pot on their heads, which they offered to the deity. At around two p.m. on the day of the festival, the procession departs and the parade of people in various costumes who accompany the mikoshi (sacred palanquin) is followed by the eight girls wearing pot hats, the nabekamuri onna.

— Mogi Sakae
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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