Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mitarashi Festival

Shinto is an ancient japanese religion and according to shintoism, gods still inhabit the island country of Japan.
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Although Japan has experienced a rapid change of environment due to a gust of modernization, japanese people feel the same presence of gods, in their modern lives, that they had felt in the ancient days.
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Numerous Shinto festivals are held throughout the year. In these ceremonies, gods are brought to presence; that presence is honored and celebrated, and blessings are sought for.
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When one passes the torii gate, it marks the setting apart between the finite world and the infinite world of the gods. Each shrine is dedicated to a specific god who has a divine personality.
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Seoritsu-hime-no-mikoto has been enshrined in the Shimogamo Shrine and is responsible for the prosperity and well-being of the community.
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The black and white setting of the lantern picture.
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Shintoism traditionally emphasizes purity. A pure and cheerful heart is the basis of communion with the shrine gods. In the state of purity, one is connected to the order and harmony of Great Nature.
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In the past, believers practiced misogi (an act of purification and to wash away bad luck), the washing of their bodies in a river near the shrine. In recent years they only wash their hands and wash out their mouths in a wash basin provided within the shrine grounds
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During the Mitarashi Festival, visitors serenely walked in the Mitarashi River of the Shimogamo Shrine, soaking their feet in that small stream (part of the festival's purification ritual) and praying to the god for blessings.
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During the walk in the little river, one took part in the purification of the mind and body. Parents offered candles and prayed to the shrine god for their well-being such as family safety, recovering from illness, business prosperity and etc.
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Drinking the 'ritualistically cleaned' water is also part of the purification procedure, it seems.
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Shimogamo shrine is also famous for one of the three biggest festivals in Kyoto, the Aoi Matsuri. One of my friend, Ai Ling has written a post (and some nice lantern pictures) on the Mitarashi Festival in her blog.

For more information on Shinto Purification Rituals, click here :
http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/Fac/Adler/Reln275/Shinto-purification-rituals.htm

8 comments:

Elisa said...

q tremenda es tu cultura!! me gusta mucho y me inspira poder visitar tu país algún día. saludo grande!!

ODD said...

Great stuff do you and Ai lee go and take photos together? I think that would be cool.

zbjernak said...

the pic with the lantern in one line...
the perspective very nice oh....

hehhehehehhehehe

i think japanese have lots of festival to be celebrated...and they celebrate it in a grand way

Acrix said...

Hmm the japanese shrine looks pretty clean and not that smoky like the chinese temple :P Anyway i like the first photo, it;s gorgeous and kinda mysterious :P

Patrick Leong said...

elisa : thank you for lovely comments. i do hope you can visit japan one day. which part of chile are you from ?

odd : yea. that was the first time we go photo shooting together. if she hadn't asked me to go, i would have missed the festival.

zbjernak : yes. yes. alot of festivals. whole year. the least in winter and many festivals during the summer months. i missed the PL firework festival last monday (the biggest in kansai region) but will see the biwa lake firework festival next monday instead. not so big but heard it is beautiful.

acrix : quite true. malaysian temples are thick with joss sticks smoke. sometimes during certain festivals, there are lines are huge giant joss sticks burning. come to think about it, i don't remember seeing worshippers offering joss sticks in japanese shrine. they just clap twice and pray.

Lrong said...

Good pics!!

robert said...

MOST INCREDIBLE BLOG I HAVE SEEN AS OF YET....DID YOU USE AN HTML TAG TO GET THE FLAG COUNTER OF VISITORS? I WOULD LOVE TO ADD IT TO MY BLOG....PLEASE SHARE AND JOURNEY ON!

Patrick Leong said...

lrong : thanks. have a good journey back to malaysia. eat lots of durians eh ?

robert : thanks for visiting my blog. yes, what you need to do is to log into neocounter. click the word - neocounter at the bottom of the counter. register your information in the site. confirm setting and copy html tag into your blog template. good luck.