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Tori no Ichi - Rooster Days or Festival

        Tori-no-ichi is one of the many traditional festivals that are held at shrines and temples around Japan. They are held
to wish good luck and business prosperity. Tori (rooster) one of the 12 Junishi (animal signs of the zodiac calendar).
Prior to using the Gregorian calendar, the Japanese would combine the zodiac signs with their Jikkan (the ten celestial
stems) and apply this to each year and day. This is how Tori-no-Ichi are determined; the Rooster Days of November which
occur every 12 days during the month. There will be at least 2, and there can be 3.

        The festival was begun in the Asakusa during the Edo period at Ootori Jinja Shrine and Chokokuji Temple, but will be
found in all parts of Japan. It is sometimes called by the familiar name of Otori-sama. The patron deity of good fortune
and successful business is enshrined at Otori-jinja shrines. On Rooster Days in November, anyone connected with business
goes to the shrine or temple to pray for good luck and fortune through their businesses. A festival is set up in the
areas around the shrines and temple. The open air stalls sell kumade - highly decorated rakes, symbolizing "raking in
wealth and good fortune". They are made of bamboo and traditionally were decorated with masks and koban (old gold coin
replicas). Today the decorations can be exceedingly elaborate and incorporate a wide range of trims. Merchants and
families will display the kumade in their shops and homes. Each time a souvenir rake is sold, you will often see the
vendor and the buyer clap their hands in rhythmic harmony with each other (this is called Tejime, and is a common
celebration practice); lively shouts will accompany the clapping (on a personal note, I've attended Japanese New Year
parties which have all ended with Tejime. It's a delightful thing!). The celebrations run until midnight on each of the
Rooster Days during the month.

With thanks to Japan National Tourism Organization; Lonely Planet Japan; Nippon News 

Last updated 11/2013 © 1998 - 2014 G. Thompson/PuffinStuff, Inc.