Friday, March 4, 2011

Will Miss #294 - ground blessing ceremonies

The Japanese have a curious relationship with spirituality. Most of them don't believe in anything, but they still go through the motions, even when it costs them money. One of the things you find people will fork over a wad of cash for even though they don't deeply believe in a) demons or b) God, is ground blessings (jichinsai). A priest comes to a place where a new building is to be built and does his song and dance (not literally), and then gets handed a wad of money. The picture above is the little makeshift Shinto "pagoda" (my inaccurate characterization). I saw the actual ceremony (including the pay-off in which the priest was handed a special envelope), but didn't have my camera with me when I initially witnessed it.

I love the contradiction that goes along with paying for blessings that you don't really believe in, and I'll miss it.