There is a bell at the worship hall in a shrine. When people pray, they ring the bell after putting some coins in a wooden box. What is this bell for, and what role does it have?
Month: July 2020
Have you ever realized animal statues made of stone when you visit a shrine? There are basically two kinds of animal statues, which are dog and fox, located at the entrance of a shrine. In this article, it explains about Komainu, a statue of a dog.
Have you ever seen the small wooden plate hanging in shrines? That plate called Ema is for making wishes like, “I will be able to pass the school entering an exam.” In this blog, it explains the origin of Ema.
Origin of Ema
The meaning of Ema in kanji is picture-horse, so it’s a wooden panel with a horse picture. This panel is the alternative of horse offering to God when praying. Since ancient times horses have been a symbol of power and a sacred animal. Such consciousness creates the custom of offering a horse to God when making a wish. However, horses could only be provided by a limited number of influential people, and the simple custom of praying for clay or wooden horse figures became widespread.
Although the period of origin of Ema has not been specified, it is thought that it started at about the same time as the presentation of the horse statue due to the excavations from Nara to Heian. Ema was divided into large and small types at the end of the Muromachi period. The large one was drawn by a particular painter and stored at the votive hall. The small panel was for ordinary people. It became prevalent during the Edo period. Speaking of Ema today, this small one is more popular.
As the final form, a votive tablet was created to dedicate with a drawing of a horse on a small pentagonal board. There are some Ema panels without horse pictures these days, but initially, there was the animal with Ema. Ema can be said, in a word, “a plate-shaped object on which a picture is drawn in order to dedicate to the gods.” There are various shapes, sizes, and designs. There are still shrines keeping horses as a holy creature.
How to write on Ema
First of all, you need to get Ema at the office in a shrine. Depending on the shrine, it costs about 500 to 1,000 JPY.
Make sure to write your wishes on the unpainted side, not the side of the painting. There is no rule about which pen should be used. However, it’s recommended to write with an oil-based pen so that it will not be erased in the rain. Many shrines have writing utensils, so it’s a good idea to use them.
Please write down your name so that God can know who you are. Actually, it seems that it is better to write the date of birth and the address as well, but since there is a privacy problem nowadays, if you are worried about it, there is no problem with only the initials of your name.
Is it okay to take Ema back home?
There is no rule about bring it back home or not, but since there are many places where you can put an Ema on, it is common to hang it on.
Even though it’s written a wish, it may not reach God if it’s taken back home. So it’s recommended to put it when it’s finished writing. If you bring it back as a souvenir, it is better to display it at a place higher than your eyes.
Do you know what effects amulets at shrines have? Amulets have various consequences. Everyone has their own worries, and if you utilize good a talisman well, you may be able to eliminate many of your concerns. In this blog, it introduces the effects of amulets that you can get at shrines.
Many people draw lots of fortune slips called Omikuji when visiting shrines. So do you know how long this Omikuji is effective? How long will the fortune be valid? It explains what to do after drawing the slip.
First of all, Omikuji is originated from the fact that in old Japan, people used to draw when they made important decisions about the country and received the judgment of God. In modern times, this has changed to fortune-telling individuals.
Different kinds of Omikuji
There are various types of Omikuji you can try at shrines. Here is the example.
- Matchmaking Omikuji
It describes encounters and relationships. The famous matchmaking Omikuji is a bookmark in which the love song of a famous poet is written.
- Love Omikuji
It’s about love, such as love luck, a constellation of an ideal partner, blood type, zodiac, and age difference.
- Flower Omikuji
It is a type of Omikuji that allows you to write your wishes. It’s a good idea to write your dreams and bring them in the hope of fulfillment.
How long will the shrine’s fortune be useful?
Have you ever wondered how long the effect will last when you draw a fortune slip? If you try Omikuji at the beginning of a year, the results may not be good, and you may wonder if you were unlucky the whole year, or you may think about trying it again.
It’s believed that Omikuji is generally valid until the next omikuji is drawn. Omikuji is an oracle from God about your fortune at the time when you draw, so it’s like a piece of advice. It’s vital that you read the written contents and make your own efforts and act rather than merely worrying about the fortune on the slip.
Can you draw an omikuji in a short span?
Omikuji judges your luck of the year when you draw at the beginning of a new year, wishing for prayer for passing the examination, and hoping for a good relationship, also marriage or romance. It’s said that you can try Omikuji many times a year if you wish to receive more advice from God. Generally, there is no rule with the number of times you receive a fortune. However, just because the results of the omikuji are not good, it’s not good to draw them until succession. As mentioned earlier, Omikuji is an oracle from God. However, if you continue to try because you don’t like the result, it’s the same as saying that you don’t hear the advice from God. Omikuji is advice about your fortune at the time of drawing, so it’s preferable to take the information firmly, act for at least one month, and draw another one.
What you should do after drawing
How do you handle the slip after you draw it? If the fortune of the Omikuji is good luck, most of the people bring it home, or if it is terrible, you tie it to a tree branch at a shrine. Tying a slip to a branch is based on the idea of connecting it to a shrine and God. However, some people believe that this slip is the advice of God, so they just carry it instead of tying.
How long is Omikuji available?
Basically, Omikuji is sold during the time when the office in a shrine is open. Depending on shrines, there are boxes for omikuji and money, and there are also places where you can draw omikuji even at night or vending machines.