Toting Spirits Around


I hope this doesn’t get me in trouble with my more conservative friends, but I’m going to carry a portable shrine on Sunday. About 77 people from the neighborhood will don happi (法被), sarashi (晒し), shorts, and tabi (足袋) and gather at the Kunitama shrine (國魂神社) at 8am. From there we will take turns in groups of 10 or 12, carrying a small (~300kg) shrine around town on our shoulders. Our course will be about 10km.

We will be provided with food and beverage. For some, it is a serious religious responsibility; however, for others, I think it is a socially acceptable way to start drinking sake (酒・日本酒) at 8 on a Sunday morning. We are supposed to be festive, so they don’t mind us being a little loopy. I will try not to disappoint them.

I kept telling people I was going to “carry” or “move” the omikoshi (御神輿), but I found both of these verbs aren’t appropriate here: we will “shoulder” or “hump” the shrine around. I think we use this verb (katsugu, 担ぐ) because the “portable” shrine is heavy – much like the original “portable” computers. Yay! I learned a new word. Gotta run to photo society or I would explain more about my decision to participate.


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One Response to “Toting Spirits Around”

  1. titus2woman Says:

    You know, as a conservative I am always so confused on issues like this. I was reading just last week about the importance of cleansing your home of idols to be rid of unclean spirits. I do understand it, and yet it would be difficult to part with a gift from a loved one (can’t think of anything I have presently). I would never worship it~just like the Christmas tree isn’t worshiped anymore. Isn’t our God bigger than that? I know many would love to set me straight…. (((((HUGS))))) sandi

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