Kurayami Matsuri -Avi au Lecteur-
Kurayami Matsuri is the Ohkunitama shrine's Reitaisai, the annual most important and religious event. Ohkunitama shrine settles in Fuchu city, Tokyo. Fuchu is also named Musashi-Fuchu that was located the capital of Musashi-no-Kuni province. It has been much adored as the general shrine of the province through the ages.
Kurayami Matsuri has come for as many generations. It originates in an official ceremony, Kokufu-Sai, which a domain director general holds to give thanks and pray for bumper crops and peace in the days when government was far more close to religion.
Kurayami Matsuiri is a festival of the capital city; moreover it is the one for the whole province.
As mentioned above, this festival has a long history.
One Japanese much popular historical novelist Shiba Ryotaro notes in one of his works, "(In Edo period) even the priests (of famous big) shrines in urban center work under for ceremonies held in Rokusho-Myojin (another name for Ohkunitama Shrine)," that shows us Kurayami Matsuri has been venerable and important, regarding that Tokugawa regime build up urban Edo district off from Fuchu.
There is a phrase, "Still entry level until their grandchildren", whereas in Fuchu, those third generations are just taken as new. Fuchu has so many old houses that tenth-generation posterities are not so uncommon. People settled in Fuchu area from early times, which has carried over Kurayami Matsuri age after age.
Kurayami Matsuri is solemn, follows the old arrangement. It remains conservative style, compared to most of other festivals. For example, we block off the sight of that symbol of the spirit moving into Omikoshis(Omikoshi:Portable Shrine). Sacred objects, emirs, and sometimes nobilities have been supposed to escape common people's glimpse since ancient times. Then, Omikoshis are carried on unlit roads from the shrine to Otabisho (a ceremonial precinct to pass a night for the spirit).
With awe, we avoid seeing divine specimens; therefore, we conduct ritual ceremonies in the night without lightings.
All the illuminations blacked out, led with Japanese lanterns, portable shrines come out to public being shouldered on people and journey to the lodgment to get offered. This reminds you of the very dawning of time when the deities come to the world of dark and accept offerings.
Next early morning, May 6th, all the doors set lanterns. In contrast to the night before, Omikoshis journey around the alight streets. And then, they return to the shrine. I guess, the world began with legendary gods' appearance to the dark, let there be light. They pass the lands of brightness. It is slightly like Genesis.
In Fuchu, not a few people feel as though Kurayami Matsuri days are New Year beginning. I wonder it owes to annual deities' coming to shine on all the lives just as beginning of the world.
The Large japanese drums are percussed, and informs utmost of the gods' arrival.
The Omikoshi are shone on with the light of the lantern.
Picture Taken May 5, 2001
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English translation : Rie
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