Fire Tossing Ceremony of Kamo Shrine
[Mikagari Ceremony: PDF]
|The Mikagari Ceremony is held every year on February 3 at Kamo Shrine in Hirosawacho. The ceremony dates back to the Edo Period, during the 19th century.
Young men, dressed in white, undergo a purification rite, after which they throw beans, a custom carried out all over Japan as a way to ward off evil spirits and welcome in the spring season.
The open field in front of the shrine becomes a gathering place for the
previous year and there talismans, good luck symbols, daruma, and so forth
are piled up and then set on fire. Once the bonfire in burning well, the
young men dressed in white divide into two groups, standing opposing each
other to the left and right of the field, taking burning timbers from the
bonfire. Shouting loudly and moving to the rhythm of drums, they pitch
the burning timbers at each other, high into the air so that they sometimes
collide before crashing to the ground.
This ceremony is said to serve to protect the participants from evil during the coming year.