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Japanese Traditional Arts

Eyoudo Shinji: Rejoicing Festival
Art Category Ritual & Ceremony
Name Eyoudo Shinji: Rejoicing Festival

"Eyoudo-Shinji" is a Shinto ritual in which the lights in the precincts of the Atsuta shrine are switched off and all of the priests laugh out loud with rapture at those four places; Yougo-no-masha or Yougono-ma shrine, Kaguraden-mae or in front of Kaguraden, Betsugu-mae or in front of Betsugu shrine and Seisetsumon-mae or in front of Seisetsumon gate. It is uncommon for a Shinto ritual and is also known as "Ohoho-Matsuri" or "rejoicing festival".

The ritual takes place in the darkness with all the lights off, in which no Shinto prayer nor offering of food and Sake to the deities are featured. Each priest hides "Shinmen" or the mask of God, which has been handed down not to look at since old times, in his wardrobe sleeve. After the priests hit lightly the mask with a fan called "Chukei", all of them laugh, "o-ho-ho" all together along with a flute. It is such a mysterious Shinto ritual.

In the reign of Emperor Tenji, the divine sword was held due to some reason for a certain period in the Imperial Palace, but was returned to the Atsuta Shrine by order of the Emperor Tenmu in 686. The ritual has been handing down to the present the way how all the priests were delighted with the returned sword.

Translation by: Hiroko Okamura, reviewed by Takayuki Kitano (Atsuta Shrine)

City/Town Atsuta Ward, Nagoya City, Aichi Pref.
Location Atsuta Shrine, 1-1-1, Jingu, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Pref. (Held on May 4th every year)
Contact Atsuta Shrine, TEL (052)-671-4151
URL http://www.atsutajingu.or.jp/jingu/shinto/eyoudoshinji.html

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