In regards to the ceremonies associated with the Shinto religion, followers focus on positive treatment, protection, abstinence, prayers, purification, as well as offerings. In this article, ceremonies will be discussed, such as purification, which deals with the process of washing with water. This is meant to remove any dust or impure thoughts that may enter the mind of believers.
When visiting a traditional Japanese household, you may find two family alters. The first alter is dedicated to Shinto, which pay respect to the goddess, Amaterasu Omikami. The other alter deals with Buddhism, which is meant for the family ancestors. If the family follows true Shinto beliefs, they will perform all of their ceremonies in the style of Shinto beliefs.
When following the Shinto religion, you will find that there are no religious services that are observed on a weekly basis. Some participants may pay a visit to a shrine on the 1st and 15th of each month. During occasions dealing with rites or festivals, visits to a shrine will occur. Shrine visits vary from person to person. Some visit when it is convenient to them, while others pay visit every morning.
A visit to a Shinto shrine is considered a visit to the home of the kami. The inner sanctuary, also known as honden, is considered the most important shrine building related to the religion. It stands for a symbol of the “kami body.” The symbol associated with the shrine is a mirror, but can also be a variety of objects, including a wooden image, sword or other objects. These objects cannot be displayed to others. The object must be wrapped and put into a container. The only person to enter the inner sanctuary is the chief priest.
The entrance to the shrine is called the torii, which is considered the gateway. When approaching this area, a visitor must wash their hands and rinse their mouth using an “ablution basin.” It is common for visitors to make a small donation at the oratory before praying. This is also the same time that a person may ask for rites of passage or special prayers from the priest.
The Shinto religion present numerous of rites of passage. Various examples include:
30-100 days after birth: The first visit of a new baby is to initiate the child as a new member.
November 15: Shichi-go-san (Seven-Five-Three) is when five-year-old boys and girls from the ages of 3-7 years of age pay a visit to the shrine to pray for healthy progress in life.
January 15: Adults’ Day proves special to those who have reached their 20th year.
Marriage: Wedding ceremonies are usually performed following the Shinto way. Their vows are spoken to kami.
Death: Because of difference of opinions regarding the purity of a funeral ritual, most funerals follow Buddhist beliefs.
These are just a few rites of passage that deal with everyday life and events. There are many more ceremonies that are performed, including a variety of purifying methods. Ceremonies can celebrate a wide-range of life’s occurrences, whether it is praying for progress or giving thanks to new endeavors.