Thursday, January 17, 2008

Burn Daruma Baby Burn

Last weekend was a really busy one for me. Saturday was devoted to sorting kimono fabric for some customers. Sunday I went to watch Wayne in his Iaido grading and I'm proud to say that he got his Sho-dan (first degree black belt). The hall he was grading in was also holding a Coming of Age ceremony. I got so focused on the photos I was taking of all the gorgeous kimonos (sorry about the pun), that I almost missed Wayne's moment of grading (bad wife Melanie, bad wife). After taking Wayne out for a congratulatory dinner, the evening was spent downloading and retouching photos.

But still, I was up for more! On Sunday I headed to Atsuta Shrine to take more Seijin no Hi pics before I rushed over to another festival at Osu Kannon.

This Sagicho festival is held at shrines around the country, on the same day as Seijin no Hi. It's a Shinto rite where the New Year decorations are burnt while priest pray for the health of all. The one at Osu Kannon in Nagoya was tame compared to some others in Japan, but I always enjoy a good fire, especially nice on these cold winter days.

Some of the decorations are set with a Daruma wish doll on top (notice that both eyes have been painted, so this is a used doll). The High Priest begins the chants.

Close up of the chants

Burn baby burn! Another priest sets the whole thing alight.

An ordained pyromaniac

Adding fuel to the fire. Priest throw different wooden prayer/wish tablets on the fire.

Hopes go up in smoke. A friend explained to me that they are prayers are said while they are burnt so that the smoke will take the wishes to the gods.

My lucky mochi. At the end of it all, I was presented with a piece of mochi, a hard rice cake. My mochi says "Good luck". I'm told I can eat it, though I think I'll just keep this one. There is plenty of non-lucky (as opposed to unlucky) mochi in my kitchen.

Another lucky thing of the day was that by pure chance, I met Kikuko. She has a great website with lots of useful and interesting information about Japan, but more importantly, it has a detailed Monthly calendar for events happening around in and around Nagoya. For the last couple of years, her website has been my are-there-any-festivals-on-this-weekend bible. I found this festival in there. You can see her website here.


Contamination said...

Wow! Those are some great photos.

I bet you were really looking forward for the fire to get going as it's so very very cold right now!

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Hehehe... not too bad considering that the first four were taken with my camera over my head trying to get a shot over the crowd ;)

The fire was great, I stood for 30 minutes stamping my feet waiting for them to set it alight, it was so cold!

lina said...

how's having a lucky mochi treating you so far? *^_^*

Anonymous said...

I haven't been to a really good fire in awhile.

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Hey Lina, well no luck so far... maybe I do have to eat it to get the luck....

Hey Billy, ahhh... I really miss a good campfire.... with marshmallows. Somehow I don't think the priests would have appreciated me breaking out the packet of marshmallows and roasting them on the fire.....