I have been absent from the soapbox recently as I have been ajusting to the highs and lows of parenthood and juggling this with my job teaching English in Japan. However there was a special occasion last Monday that I wanted to share with you. It was my son’s Omiyamairi (お宮参り)at Houchigai Shrine(方違神社), which is located close to JR Hanwa Sakaishi Station(JR阪和線 堺市駅).
In the past, Omiyamairi was the first outing for a newborn and a chance to pay a visit to the local Shinto shrine and to introduce the baby to the shrine’s god. This visit marked the thirty-first day after the birth of a baby boy and the thirty-second day after the birth of a baby girl. We took a little longer to get there….
On the day of the visit to the shrine, the baby is dressed in a formal kimono. The paternal grandmother carries the baby and the parents accompany them. The kimono worn by the baby on this auspicious occasion has unique traditional features: there is no seam on the back of kimono since its width is the same as a bolt of kimono fabric. The back of regular kimonos consists of two widths of the kimono fabric. Other special features include long narrow sleeves, decorative cords and five family crests on the kimono.
A boy’s kimono is made of habutae (plain-woven silk) and is black with bold patterns. The under-kimono is made of white, yellow or brown habutae. A baby girl’s kimono is often made of crepe and decorated with auspicious motifs such as cranes, tortoises, pines, chrysanthemums and other flowers.
Other people were in the temple joining to ceremony who didn’t have babies which I thought was odd. I later learned that the two young men were having their new super cool black van blessed, and the other lady probably her house or something similar. I thought it was quite funny that everything and everyone was blessed at the same time.
We finished the celebration with a meal at my favorite restaurant Kani Douraku Sakai. I will share some pictures in my next post…..
Smith’s School of English – Sakai Higashi and Nakamozu.