Traditional Event “Oharai”
Purification ceremonies have been held twice a year, on the last day of June and December, since the Heian period (794 CE to 1185 CE) in Nara. At Misogi Shrine, they are also held on June 30 and December 31.
Purification by Katashiro
The katashiro is shaped like a person, as shown in the photo. Because of its human shape, the word “katashiro” is also read as “hitokata” (doll). Purification using this kind of doll has been around for a long time, and according to records, it is a traditional purification method that has been practiced since the Nara and Heian periods (710 CE to 1185 CE). A katashiro is a substitute for you. The process of purification using this substitute is as follows.
First, you breathe on the katashiro and entrust your impurities to it (ask it to take care of them). If any breath remains, the impurity will remain, so make sure to exhale from the bottom of your abdomen so that no breath remains. If you blow on the doll, the impurity will be transferred to the doll. This will cleanse you. The next step is to purge the impurity. To purge the impurities, take the katashiro, with all the impurities, to the riverside and release it into the river. If it is released into the river, it will be carried by the current of the river to the ocean. The flow of the river and the tide of the ocean will cleanse what had been dirty. In other words, the power of purification that exists in nature purges the impurities.
Let us hope that everything will work out according to God’s will, and that we become clean by entrusting our impurities to the katashiro.
The Sins We Commit Unknowingly
We humans have rules to maintain order in society, and if we don’t follow them, we may be guilty of committing a sin. The sins we commit, seen and unseen, erode our destiny and health, and invite various problems. To our horror, the sins we commit not only hinder our destiny, they also disturb the peace of the world. Therefore, in order to lead a happy life, to cleanse our fate, and to protect the peace of the world, “Oharai” is held twice a year. Let’s ask for forgiveness for the sins we have committed, and start over from the beginning by removing all impurities.