6/12/2005

First Ceremonies of the year

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First Ceremonies of the Year

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: New Year
***** Category: Observances


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Explanation

There are many ceremonies, rituals and festivals special to the first time they occur in the new year, the most famous maybe the

"First visit to a Shrine or Temple",
Hatsumode (hatsumoode hatsu moode  初詣).

Hatsumode is also called
hatsumairi
初参,
hatsusha 初社, first Shrine Visit, if you visit a Shinto Shrine.

Many Buddhist deities and famous religious people have one day of a month dedicated to them. When this first day comes around in January, it is the HATSU  初 first day for this ceremony. In December, on the last day of the year, we have the OSAME  納め rituals, the last ones (see below).

We will look at the most famous first ceremonies in this article. January is very cold in most parts of Japan and to sit through such a ceremony on your knees for more than half an hour is quite a treat.

For more Japanese ceremonies of religious events and related kigo, see the Saijiki for Japanese Buddhist and Shinto Events .

The translations here, if not otherwise specified on the links quoted, are by myself.

Gabi Greve

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CLICK for more photos

Daruma Market, Daruma-ichi 達磨市
Daruma Markets and First Shrine Visit

Daruma for good luck, fuku Daruma 福達磨、福だるま are also kigo of this season.

素通りとなる値札なき達磨市
sudoori to naru nafuda naki Daruma ichi

I am just passing along
a Doll without a price tag -
Daruma Market
http://www.whi.m-net.ne.jp/~kyikeda/sub8.html

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小さくとも派手な手打ちや達磨市 
chiisaku to mo hade na te-uchi ya Daruma ichi

buying only a small one
they clap their hands in praise wildly -
Daruma Market

横室不木
http://ota.gunma.med.or.jp/haiku/2003eisou.htm


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初薬師 : Hatsu Yakushi, First Ceremony for Yakushi Nyorai, Healing Buddha
His day is the 8th of each month.
初薬師本尊開扉

At this temple Shooraku-Ji in Oita Prefecture, the sutras are aired over the head of the believers. This temple is one of the three great Yakushi temples in the area. Even nowadays more than 100 visitors come every year, even if the cold winds are blowing. The main statue of Yakushi Nyorai of this temple is said to have been made by Kobo Daishi, Kukai .


http://www.vill.honjyo.oita.jp/kanko/event/hatsuyakushi.html

Yakushi, the Buddha of healing and medicine, is often shown holding a small jar of medicine in his left hand, while his right hand is in the mudra position meaning "No Fear."

Read more about this deity by Mark Schumacher here:
Yakushi Nyorai

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なゝくさや明日は野寺の初薬師
松岡青蘿(1740-1791)

nanakusa ya asu wa noji no hatsu-yakushi

gruel of seven herbs for spring -
tomorrow at the lone temple
first ceremony of the Healing Buddha

Matsuoka Seira
ttp://www.geocities.jp/haikunomori/chuko/seira.html

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手を曳かれ吊橋渡る初薬師
山口華村

te o hikare tsuribashi wataru hatsu yakushi

held by the hand
I pass over the hanging bridge -
first ceremony of the Healing Buddha

Yamaguchi Kason
http://atamix.hp.infoseek.co.jp/senku.html


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初閻魔, 閻魔詣 : Hatsu Emma, First Ceremony for Emma,
Deity of Hell

His memorial day is the 16th of each month.

In January and July, Emma (Enma, Ema) is out on a holiday (Emma saijitsu and the lid to the chauldron of hell was closed, so these two days are best to visit a temple where Emma is enshrined.

During the Edo period, this day was also called yabu-iri 籔入り, a day when the wifes of workers at shops and stores had a day off to visit their families and the local Ema temples.

............................................. Read the details HERE !


http://www.city.noboribetsu.hokkaido.jp/spa/sub9.html


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初観音 Hatsu Kannon : First Kannon Ceremony
Kannon is the Deity of Mercy, sometimes shown in a female incarnation.
His day is the 18 of each month. Sometimes also on the 18th of February, for example in Matsukasa. You can see two bottles of ricewine offered to the deity.



Look at more pictures here:
http://www.fsinet.or.jp/~matukasa/04/0229.html


Some temples celebrate this on the third sunday of January to make sure people can attend. This picture is from the "Kannon that does not need to be washed" in Kurashiki.


http://www.arawazu-kannonji.or.jp/hatukannon.htm

More pictures of a local ceremony.
http://www7.airnet.ne.jp/matsuki/nyoirinn200401.html
http://www7.airnet.ne.jp/matsuki/town%20200401.html


Read more about this deity by Mark Schumacher here:
Kannon Bosatsu

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初観音岬の眩しき四海波
hatsu Kannon misaki no mabushiki Shikainami

first Kannon ceremony -
the cape shining brilliantly from
Shikinami Hall

(Shikainami is the name of a famous hall overlooking the sea at Mikawa Bay.)

宮本ミユキ
http://www3.ocn.ne.jp/~sanpei/h1301.htm


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初大師 Hatsu Daishi : First Kooboo Daishi Festival
Kobo Daishi, Kukai
初弘法 Hatsu Kobo.
His day is the 21 of each month.

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飴切りの音に埋もるる初大師
ame-kiri no oto ni umoruru hatsu Daishi

the sound of cutting sweets,
just deafening -
First Daishi Ceremony



This haiku talks about the cutting of sweets at Kawasaiki Daishi.
I wrote more about this event here: Dagashi - Sweets

Haiku quoted from here:
http://homepage2.nifty.com/haiku-kodama/starthp/subpage02.html


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初地蔵 Hatsu Jizoo : First Jizoo Ceremony
His day is the 24 of each month.

Here you can look at a slide show of the ceremony in Akita, Northern Japan "where the monks wear snow sandals (kanjiki) "
折渡初地蔵かんじき詣り
http://www.akitafan.com/new_binran/user/r_detail.htm?serial_no=1004



One Thousand Jizō (千体地蔵, Sentai Jizoo) or
Oriwatari Jizōson (折渡地蔵尊),
located in Oriwatari, Ouchi, Yurihonjo.
MORE with photos and haiku
source : akitahaiku.wordpress.com

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More pictures of a local ceremony at 峯岸観音堂.
http://www7.airnet.ne.jp/matsuki/town%20200401.html

Read more about this deity by Mark Schumacher here:
Jizo Bosatsu



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初不動 hatsu Fudo: First Fudo Ceremony.
His day is the 28 of each month.

painted in blood -
the Red Fudoo
speaks to my soul


Gabi Greve, January 28, 2006

Read more about this deity here:
O-Fudo-Sama in Japan

Red Fudo, Aka Fudo
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笹竹に傅菓子ゆれたる初不動   


http://darumasan.blogspot.com/2005/02/ame-dagashi-sweets.html

sasatake ni dagashi yuretaru hatsu Fudoo

from the bamboo pole
dangeling sweets -
first Fudoo ceremony


武山チエコ
http://www2.tokai.or.jp/kotori/tori122.htm


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初護摩 Hatsu-goma, First Fire Ceremony
Oyama Fudo, Fire Ceremony
Usually celebrated on the 28 of a month in honor of Fudo, discussed above.


http://www.nishiaraidaishi.or.jp/jp/ogoma/

初護摩や老師指先細やかに
hatsu goma ya rooshi yubisaki komayaka ni

first fire ceremony -
the hands of the old priest
moving so delicately

木谷 江月
http://www.city.hakusan.ishikawa.jp/kyouiku/bunka/nyusen/nyusen13-11.jsp


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初勤行: Hatsu-gongyoo, First Reading of the Sutras
Other names : hatsu dokugyoo 初読経, hatsu hooza 初法座 
Often held on the first of January.

Hatsugane, 初鐘、the first ringing of the temple bell, is also called "Joya no Kane" 除夜の鐘 and is rung 108 times whilst passing from the old to the new year.

. hyakuhachi no kane 百八の鐘(ひゃくはちのかね)
108 times ringing the bell .



凛々と声澄み渡り初勤行

so cool and crip
the voices reveberating -
first reading of the sutras

山中清女
http://www.geocities.jp/sonoyamahana/sotuku.html


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First Copying of the Sutras (hatsu shakyoo 初写経)
To copy sutras or Buddhist images (shabutsu 写佛) is a way to earn merit in this world, was the widespread belief among Buddhist followers. This tradition is very old in Japan.Many people even nowadays start with a session of copying sutras every day.
Many temples provide an opportunity once a month for people to gather and copy the sutras together. I have attended many of these ceremonies, where you kneel at a low table and concentrate the mind on your Chinese characters.
After copying the sutras or images, they are offered to the Deities at the temple.

Here is a haiku about copying the sutras in summer, from a lady with 93 years.

shakyo no te yasumete kikinu semi no koe

resting the hand
from copying sutras -
cicada’s song

Die Hand haelt inne
beim Sutrenkopieren –
Zikadenzirpen

From my translation of "Haiku with 100 Years"
http://happyhaiku.blogspot.com/2004/08/haiku-with-hundred.html


Look at the scene and a sutra to copy here:
http://www.ryozen-kwannon.jp/syakyou/syakyou.html


Now the copies are presented to the Buddha:


http://www.hasedera.jp/shiyoujiyoe.htm

More about
Copying the Sutra, Shakyoo 般若心経


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. Hatsu mikuji 初神籤(はつみくじ)first fortune-telling  


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Worldwide use


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Things found on the way



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HAIKU


................................The sad reality of rural Japan:

hatsu-moode yama no kami ni wa dare mo kon

Fiste Shrine visit -
to our Mountain God
nobody comes

Gabi Greve 2004
New Year
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初御空秩父連山さわやかに

first looking at the sky -
the mountain range of Chichibu
so clear

http://www.whi.m-net.ne.jp/~kyikeda/sub8.html

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Related words

***** More about Buddhist and Shinto Ceremonies during the Year
see Saijiki for Buddhist and Shinto Events


Links of religious ceremonies in Japanese:
This list has a few more first visits to the deities.
http://page.freett.com/sirahige/shinnen/gyouji.htm

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***** Last Ceremonies of the year:
Kigo for Winter

See : Last Ceremonies of the year

Corresponding to the first ceremonies introduced above, we have the last ceremonies in December, on the same month as mentioned above.

Last Daishi (Shimai Daishi 終大師)
Osame-Daishi (納大師), Hate no Daishi (果の大師), Shimai Kobo (終弘法)

妻ひとり果の大師へ詣りけり

only the wife -
she attends the ceremony
of the last Daishi

Kawakami Ishiyo 川上井梨葉
Saijiki for Buddhist Events

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fuda osame 札納 bringing back the old year amulets
..... osamefuda 納札(おさめふだ)
Usually there is a special box at the back of the shrine where people place the old amulets with a feeling of gratitude, before buying a new one with wishes for safety in the coming year.


この宮の我も氏子よ札納
. kono miya no ware mo ujiko yo fuda osame .

. Abe Midorijo 阿部みどり女 .


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. First Things (hatsumono) in Japan  
many are done in January



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WKD - Saijiki for Festivals and Ceremonies


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