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Engi-Chimaki (Omen)

Engi-Chimaki (Omen)
Chimaki distributed by Kikusui-hoko (the ceremonial coach of Gion festival) is said to possess a divine favour to bring longevity and commercial prosperity.
Chimaki, usually hanging under the eaves of Kyoto townhouses (Kyo-machiya), is a specific omen of Kyoto. Originally chimaki was mochi rice cakes, made of rice powder(flour) or arrowroot starch, and they were wrapped in rice reeds or Indian rice leaves. Etimologically, it is said that chimaki derives from two characters- for the Japanese nutmeg plant (chi) and a roll (maki). The leaves of the Japanese nutmeg plant and the Indian rice has a preservative effect and since ancient times were used to wrap rice cakes or rice. In the same way are used the rice plant leaves for the chimaki omen of Gion festival. However, there is nothing, wrapped inside the chimaki omen, so one must not peel its leaves, because the divine favor dwells inside it.

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