01/01/2018

shimenawa sacred rope legends

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. Shinto Shrines (jinja 神社) - Introduction .
. kami 神 Shinto deities .
. Japanese Legends - 伝説 民話 昔話 – ABC-List .
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shimenawa 注連縄 伝説 sacred rope - legends

You see a sacred rope at the entrance to a holy place, usually a Shinto shrine, to mark the entry into a sacred area.
They are also around sacred trees or rocks.
shimekazari 注連飾 sacred ropes for New Year decorations and many more
. shimenawa 注連縄 sacred rope - introduction .



. Join the Shimenawa friends on Facebook ! .


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. Legends and Tales from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .





....................................................................... 愛知県 Aichi .....

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知多郡 Chita district 美浜町 Mihama

Yoshitomo no rei 義朝の霊 the spirit of Yoshitomo
In the family of 百合草光吉 Yurigusa Mitsuyoshi there is a special custom related to Yoshitomo.
They place four reed gras stems in a square and put a Shimenawa around. In the middle they place 風呂 a bath tub. On that night they welcome Yoshitomo at the gate of the estate, putting out lanterns and waring ritual robes and small swords. The head of the family then takes a bath. When he is finished, they use 拍子木 wooden clappers to inform the other villagers to come over and have a bath too. This is their way of never forgetting what happened to Yoshitomo, and pass the knowledge on to further generations.

. Minamoto no Yoshitomo 源義朝 (1123 – 1160) .

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知多郡 Chita district 南知多町 Minami-Chita

. sagichoo 左義長 Sagicho, ritual bonfire .
During these fire festivals around the 14 and 15 of January, the New Year decorations are burned, for example the sacred ropes.





....................................................................... Fukushima 福島県 .....
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南会津郡 Minami-Aizu district

. 天照大神 Amaterasu Omikami .
In the local dialect this deity is called
otentoo sama おてんとうさま O-Tento Sama, Honorable Sun
On the 16th day of the first and seventh lunar month, the hunters have a special festival. They hang Shimenawa in the living room and place mochi 餅 rice cakes to honor Amaterasu Omikami. The hunters stay in the room for one day and night, offering prayers. The rice cakes are then taken to the mountains. They are said to prevent mountain slides in the coming six months.

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南会津郡 Minami-Aizu district 檜枝岐村 Hinoemata village

For the New Year a new Shimenawa is bound together from seven ropes. If the end shows down to the ground, the year will bring rain. If the end shows up to the sky, there will be fine weather.
From the beginning of the rope, there are twelve months to be counted, each one with the aim to divine the weather of this month.
- - - - -
owanhagoki おわんはごき o-wan hagoki
People who are bad of hearing go to the old Katsura tree near the bridge. They bring an old bowl (o-wan), open a hole in it and put 麻糸 a hemp thread through it.
This custom is called o-wan hagoki.
Instead of a hemp thread they may use a Shimenawa. This is a spell to secure the help of 道祖神 the Dosojin deities (どうろく神 Dorokujin in local dialect).

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相馬郡 Soma district

hayari shoogatsu はやり正月 (取越正月 torikoshi shogatsu)
This is a New Year ritual in a different season (if misfortune had been hard and the villagers want to change the fate.)
The young folks hang a Shimenawa over the road to the village and the elders now take a rest from the usual farm work.
This custom is also called 盆正月 bon shogatsu.
It was often held on the first day of the second or sixth lunar month. It was popular in the Edo period as a means to get one holiday.

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須賀川市 Sukagawa

shiryoo 死霊,ikiryoo 生霊 "dead soul, living soul"
wakasama ワカサマ Waka Sama is the name of a female divner who can tell the cause of a disease or death.
At the park 狸森 Mujinamori there was such an old woman of about 70 years. She was blind and wore black robes.
She sat in a corner of the Shrine 蟇目鹿島神社 Hikime Kashima Jinja, set up with four bamboo poles and a Shimenawa. Inside the sacred space she put a kamidana 神棚 shelf for the Gods to give the Gods a space to come down to and let her know the answer to the quest.




....................................................................... Hyogo 兵庫県 .....
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神戸市 Kobe

mii san みーさん the Mii deity
At 船坂の大岩 (おほいし)the great rock of Funasaka people have a special belief.
They hang a Shimenawa all round the stone, built a small sanctuary on top of it and pray to 大岩龍大明神 the Dragon Deity of the Boulder.

The lord of this rock is seen as daija 大蛇 a large serpent.





....................................................................... Ishikawa 石川県 .....
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鹿島郡 Kashima district 能登町 Noto

Tengu 天狗
At the shrine 嶽神社 Dake Jinja there is a sacred 円丘 "round hill" which a Tengu had made in one night.
A villager had been up very early and heard the sound of leaves hitting the ground. The Tengu had mistaken this sound for a sign of the coming dawn and thrown the earth in the garden of that person.
This earth has become a mound and a pine grew on it. This is now called 天狗松 the Tengu Matsu.
During the Autumn festival, they place a Shimenawa around the tree and perform rituals.




....................................................................... Kagawa 香川県 .....

kuro-unagi, shiro-unagi 黒鰻,白鰻 black eel, white eel
. unagibuchi ryuuoo 鰻淵龍王 the Dragon King of the Eel Pool .

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三豊郡 Mitoyo district 仁尾町 Nio

hai 灰 ashes
In the night from the 14th to the 15th day of the New Year people perform
okuri shoogatsu オクリショウガツ sending off the New Year.
They burn the Shimenawa and spread the ashes all around the home and estate. This will keep any 長虫 "long thing" , for example 蛇 a serpent, from coming in.
This custom is also known in other parts of Kagawa.

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坂出市 Sakaide

On the 14th day of the New Year (小正月) people get clean sand from the beach and put it in front of their gate. On this sand they burn the New Year decorations, Kadomatsu and Shimenawa. A large Shimenawa is carefully burned to one piece of coal, which is thrown on the roof, hoping to prevent fire in the coming year. This custom is called
okazaribayashi オカザリバヤシ o-kazari-bayashi.

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多度津町 Tadotsu

. goshiki no tanzaku 五色の短冊 Tanzaku poetry slips of five colors .




....................................................................... Kagoshima 鹿児島県 .....
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大島郡 Oshima district

densenbyoo 伝染病 epidemic
Once there was an outbreak of an epidemic in the village. So they put a guard house at the village entry and a large Shimenawa along the coast. Then the fishermen begun to shout"
"エンサエンサ ensa ensa". Very soon there was 魔物 a monster fleeing the village.





....................................................................... Nara 奈良県 .....
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吉野郡 Yoshino district 下北山村 Shimo-Kitayama

hakuja (shirohebi) 白蛇 white serpent
At Eboshi no taki, エボシ滝 / えぼしの滝 the Eboshidaki waterfall in エボシ谷 the Eboshi valley once there hang a white serpent like a Shimenawa at the top of the waterfall.
To keep it alive, people are not allowed to make a fire near the tail part of the serpent.




....................................................................... Saitama 埼玉県 .....
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大滝村 Otaki

There are many folk believes in the village about serpents.
If a rat starts to nibble at the Shimenawa of the kamidana 神棚 shelf of the gods there will soon be a fire.
If one sees a serpent climbing up the mountain path (ノボリヘビ nobori hebi ), this will bring good luck. Seeing a yamakagashi ヤマカガシ(Rhabdophis tigrinus)is especially auspicious.
The first serpent seen in a year is called ハツヘビ hatsu hebi.
If it faces the human, that will bring good luck for the whole year.
If it faces the other direction, this will bring bad luck.
If one sees aodaisho 青大将 (Elaphe climacophora) in the first dream of the year and if this serpent is swallowing a frog, this means one does not have to worry about food for the coming year.






....................................................................... Tokushima 徳島県 .....
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麻植郡 Oe district 山川町 Yamakawa

hi 火 fire
On the 15th day of the New Year (小正月) people take off the Shimenawa and bring it to 氏神 the family shrine. Then it is burned in the front yard.
Touching this fire slightly will prevent a person from falling ill in the coming year.




....................................................................... Toyama 富山県 .....
富山市 Toyama city

Tengu 天狗
There was a home where a Tengu lived. They had put a Shimenawa in the garden around the 松 pine tree.
The Tengu sometimes ate their 鮭 salmon or kidnapped their children.


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shimekazari 注連飾 sacred rope decoration for New Year


- reference : nichibun yokai database -
注連縄 天狗 // シメナワ // しめなわ // 注連縄 蛇 // ok
54 注連縄 (01)
23 注連飾 shimekazari (00) - new entry


. Tengu to matsu 天狗と松 Legends about the Tengu pine .


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. Join the Shimenawa friends on Facebook ! .

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