Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1: 5. Rites and Festivals
カテゴリー2: Individual Shrine Observances
Ohoko matsuri
"Halberd festival." A festival held from November 18-26 at Ōmiwa Shrine in Tochigi City, Tochigi Prefecture. Also known as Sōja Rokusho Myōjin ("the joint shrine for powerful kami from six locations"), Ōmiwa had been the shrine that collectively enshrined all the kami (see ichi no miya/sōja) worshipped in Shimotsuke Province (present-day Tochigi Prefecture). On November 18, an iron halberd wrapped 36 times in straw and rope is taken in a procession to a temporary structure on the shrine grounds (keidai). This halberd is the object (shintai) into which a portion of the spirit of Mt. Ōmiwa was transferred (kanjō) from Mt. Miwa in the Yamato district (in present-day Nara Prefecture). A young girl who is called Kurume-sama serves the shrine during the festival. Until recently, parishoners (ujiko) would visit the shrine naked and in large numbers every evening until the 25th carrying two litters of food (mike, see shinsen) and sake offerings (miki). There is an "undoing the cord celebration" (ohimotoki matsuri) on the mid-point day of the festival (the 23rd), in which the rope bound around the halberd is cut and the pieces distributed to pregnant women as protective charms for safe childbirth. The return procession on the evening of the 25th is led by the iron halberd (referred to as ohokosama, or "honored halberd") with the Kurume-sama procession following. In the past, there would also be the violent jostling of portable shrines made using sake casks (tarumikoshi) against one another, but at present this no longer takes place. The Kurume-sama is said to be a vestige of human sacrifice.
— Mogi Sakae

Pronunciation in Japanese/用語音声

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