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
Gozakae shinji
A ritual celebrated on the evening of September 24 at Sada Shrine in Kashima Town, Yatsuka District, Shimane Prefecture. Practiced since the Yōrō era (717-724), the ritual consists of replacing the straw matting of the kamikura. Priests below the rank of gūji (chief priest) enter the naijin of the southern honden, where they perform the ceremony of replacing the matting and make offerings of food, paper streams and silent prayers to the kami. Next, they move to the Northern and Central Halls in order to conduct similar ceremonies of replacing the matting take place. The matting was originally made from straw taken from the shrine's sacred fields (shinden), which used to be called gozaden (matting fields). On September 25, the shrine's annual festival is celebrated, featuring two kagura dances: koden no shichiza no shinji and sada shin'nō. It is believed that the numerous kagura traditions transmitted in the southern area of Shimane Prefectures are based on sada shin'nō.
A ceremonial replacement of the matting is also carried out at Mizuwakasu Shrine in Goka Village, Oki District, Shimane Prefecture, on November 6. It is believed that during the tenth month of the lunar calendar (kannazuki, "the godless month") all the kami of Japan gather at Izumo Taisha. Before the kami leave for Izumo, each shrine in the village holds a festival with the purpose of urging the saijin (enshrined deity) to return after attending the meeting. It is said that renewing the matting (gozasara) represents the kami's departure. A ritualized installment of new matting is held on December 6 to welcome the return of the kami. In the past, people of all ages would spend the night exchanging cups of unrefined sake in the shrine's hall (shaden).
— Mogi Sakae

Pronunciation in Japanese/用語音声

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