Friday, January 15, 2010

Toka Ebisu Festival 十日戎(えべっさん)

Since January 11 was a national public holiday in Japan, the Coming of Age Day, I decided to visit Imamiya Ebisu Shrine for the first time to experience the much heralded Toka Ebisu Festival, which is held in the first part of January every year. For those of you who do not know, Ebisu, whose face is pictured above, is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune in Japanese mythology and notably the only one to originate from Japan.

The road leading to the Imamiya Ebisu Shrine had food stand after food stand after food stand, which is typical with festivals and the like in Japan but the concentration of food stands was the most I had ever seen in one location at a particular time. Quite a sight in itself.

With the food stand situation the way it was, I was not surprised when I finally reached the shrine to find it jam packed with people as they prayed for success in their business. As you can see from the picture above, I joined in the festivities by having the elected Fukumusume place various good luck charms (not free of course) to bring wealth to my business on a blade of bamboo grass. After receiving the grass and good luck charms, one keeps this in his/her office or home for the entire year and exchanges it the following year for a new one.





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