Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rice-planting festival, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto 《田植祭り、伏見稲荷大社)

As the Inari god is the god of agriculture, the Fushimi Inari Shrine was originally used by the Imperial Court to pray for abundant harvests and peace in the country. Currently, it serves as a shrine to come worship for progress in entertainment, safety on the road, and - above all - business prosperity. It is the busiest shrine in the Kansai area for the traditional period of visiting shrines and temples in the New Year, with an estimated 2.7 million people coming to worship in the first three days of 2008. Behind the shrine is Inari Mountain, whose climb up is surrounded by 10,000 orange torii (gates), all dedicated by a believer, usually an enterprise - a custom started during the Edo Period.

The season for planting rice seedlings is kicked off in the Taue (田植)festival. Food and liquer are offered to the gods. Then women in Heian period costume dance the ondamai while the Saotome, or women dressed in farmers' work clothes (along with men), plant seedlings.

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Video of dance