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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Hataage shinji
This observance is held on July 15 at Ayabe Hachiman Shrine in Nakabaru Town, Miyaki County, Saga Prefecture. On the gingko tree within the keidai (shrine grounds), which is a sacred tree (shinboku), a bamboo pole is placed to raise a flag. On this day, four youths charged with climbing the sacred tree and attaching the flagpole cleanse their bodies in a river then take part in a purification ceremony (oharae) conducted by shrine priests (shinshoku). Although this flag originally was not lowered until the middle day of the seven-day autumnal equinox period (higan), a flag-lowering ritual (Hataoroshi shinji) is presently held on September 25. This day draws many worshippers who receive amulets that they take home and place in a rice field, on a roof, or other windy spot to keep away the wind. The weather for the coming year is divined by the wind conditions of the flag. The curling up of the flags lower right and left edges was feared as an omen of a storm.

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