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Hitogata doll


NO.39
Hitogata doll
IThe health prayer of Imamiya Shrine, called 'Yasurai Doll' has a folded crimson robe.
The two characters for man (hito) and shape (kata) should be pronounced 'hitogata' and not 'ningyo'as usual. Although it is a simple design of clipped paper, resembling a human figure, it has a very nice shape. If you write your name and age over it and offer it for a divine purification service in the shrine, it is said to have a miraculous efficacy to prevent you from evil disasters and illnesses. Every year in June at Kamigamo Shrine there is a special purification divine ceremony (Nagoshi-no-harae) when after passing through large rings made of kaya (Japanese miscanthus plant used for thatching) paper dolls are thrown into a small river (Nara-no-ogawa-Japanese oak stream) inside the shrine precincts. Moreover, in Shimogamo Shrine there is a divine service called Nagoshi, held the night before the first day of Autumn (7th of August), when you put hitogata dolls to float over the Hand Washing pond in order to purify or wash the evils and disasters from the first half of the year and pray for lack of disasters and good health during the second half of the year. The belief that the disasters can be confined and shut in the paper is quite interesting and exciting.

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