Replacement of Shimenawa at Atsuta Jingu
Firstly, a very Merry Christmas to everyone who happens to celebrate this special day. How did I spend my Christmas day you might ask, well I witnessed Atsuta Jingu‘s ceremony replacing the huge Shimenawa around the biggest camphor tree in the property. This is an annual purification ritual performed by the Shinto religion. It is placed around a place or object that is considered sacred and pure. It is believed to ward off evil spirits.
The ritual started off by followers of the shrine carrying a newly made Shimenawa, which is about 10 meters long and weighs around 30 kilos, to the shrine for purification. Once this was purified they then walk towards the Goshimboku to replace the year old Shimenawa around the tree with the newly purified one.
Now I understood what these ropes tied around huge trees in various places around the city were and am more respectful of whatever it was protecting. Another one of their ‘out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new’ end of year clearing up, which is akin to the western worlds’ ‘spring cleaning’ practice. I reckon it’s a good way to start a new year – by not carrying over junk from the previous. The Atsuta Jingu is spread out on a vast area covered with trees and other historical objects. Here are some more photos of the day I spent there.
After which I had tea and mochi. Later I proceeded to one of the shopping malls to listen to Christmas carols performed by school girls playing bells and stings.
I finished the day with a lovely dinner with friends and their family. Overall a pleasantly spent Christmas day. I hope everyone had a beautiful day spent with your loved ones. Here’s to a new and wonderful year ahead!!!