Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fuigo Matsuri, Feast of Bellows

Today is November 8th, the day of Japan's Festival of the Bellows.

From the Daruma Pilgrim Museum Blog:
"Sacred ropes (shimenawa) are hung around the furnace and bellows [used for weapon making], sacred ricewine (o-miki) and some mandarines are placed on the furnace and prayers are said. The mandarins (small oranges) are later thrown to the children. (It was said they prevent catching a cold in winter time.) Various deities involved in sword making are celebrated in this festival." Which includes Kajishin no Kami (鍛冶神) the God of the Blacksmith and Sword Making.

Fugio means fire tools, from which the festival's proper name, Fuigo Matsuri (吹革祭), comes.The main location for the festivities is the Bellows Shrine, Fuigo Jinja (鞴神社), in Osaka.
This festival is also sometimes confused/celebrated with the feast day of Inari, the Kitchen-range Goddess, which has similar festive practices.

Pictured above: a bellows (yes, that's the singular form) from which weapons would be made.
Below: The Ikutama Jinja grounds in which the Fuigo Jinja is housed.

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