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TOP  >  What is Shinto?  >  4-e. Festivals
Jinja Shinto (Shrine Shinto)

Festivals

  On a day (or days) of Taisai (the major festival), not only a shrine but also its surrounding area is prevailed by a joyous atmosphere. Hanging Shime (a sacred rope) at the door of a house, people wait for a visit of Mikoshi (a portable shrine). At a shrine, on the other hand, the spirit of Kami or a symbolic object where Kami is dwelling is placed into Mikoshi in order to make a parade into the centre of a community. The community members march following their representatives, and after them, the chief priest on horseback aheads Mikoshi which is carried by many carriers, priests or the community members. After them, divine treasures, children in traditional festival clothes and other worshippers follow. In the community center, there are some stops prepared for Mikoshi so that the community members can worship Kami and receive a divine blessing. In many cases this festivity lasts two or three days, and during that period, Mikoshi lodges at Otabisho (or a lodging place) afar from the main shrine.
 

There are festivals of large scale. In such cases, tours of Dashi (or an ornamented festival float) are prepared by groups of the community members. These Dashi are quite large. Some of them have two or three storeys, which are taller than an ordinary house. They are gorgeously decorated by fine brocade and curtains. The carriage for Dashi is often decorated by various curbings. In the evening, the center of a community is brightly lit by lanterns hung at the eaves of each house, and on Dashi which is also lit by many lanterns, musicians and dancers make their performances. At this moment, the festivity reaches its climax. This can be similar to the atmosphere of a carnival in the Christian society. Since Dashi is carried by many people, they shout time and the crowd also respond with the encouraging shout. The festivity becoming an orgy, it happens some quarrels and some wounds as a result. At this time, people are in an extraordinary stage. A common idea in a everyday life is discarded there. Emotion pent up in a daily life is burst up. Energy preserved through a year is spent up. In a sense, busting up emotion and spending up all the energy ensure peace in the ordinary life which comes after the festival. At each household a festival banquet is prepared and thus a day of a festivity becomes the most joyful day of the community.
 

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神社と神道

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