Saidaiji Festivals

. Saidai-Ji Temple Legends .

Saidaiji Eyo Naked Festival

***** Location: Okayama, Japan
***** Season: New Year
***** Category: Observance

There are many temples called
"Great temple in the west" Saidaiji 西大寺 Saidai-Ji.

Here we have kigo for two of them.


Eyoo 会陽 "EYO Ceremony",
..... Saidaiji Mairi 西大寺参, shingi 神木, hadaka oshi 裸押し,
shuusei-e 修正会
Saidaiji Hadaka Matsuri 西大寺裸祭り

eyou festival
Third Saturday of February

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EYO, EYOO is the name for this ceremony, which started at the temple Saidai-Ji in Okayama and is now common for many ceremonies of this kind in Okayama prefecture and parts of Shikoku.
Eyo was celebrated at the last day of the lunar New Year, when all rituals are finished (kechigan gyooji 結願行事). It is also held at Shinto shrines.
People get a talisman paper, Goo-U 牛玉〔ごおう〕, also simply called "Talisman Go", o-funa go オフナゴ.
CLICK for original LINK / djv.libnet.pref.okayama.jp
This later transformed into the wooden "shingi".
The root of the word EYO is believed the shouting of the men, ee-yoo, ee-yoo エエヨウ、エエヨウ.
This festival is already mentioned in scripts of 1795. The spelling then was "会養".

Temple Saidai-ji, Kannon Hall 観音院

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© PHOTO : Pegasus


In the Eisho era(1504-1521) priests at the temple distributed an amulet, which gained a reputation for being highly effective. People poured into the temple, and the priests tossed the amulets into the crowd to meet the swollen demand. This is supposedly the origin of the festival. Later the paper amulet became a pair of wooden sticks. Originally they were called shingi (sacred sticks), written with two characters meaning true and wood, and considered as sticks of gods. Today it is still called shingi, but the first character has changed to the one that means treasure.

In early years the lunar calendar determined the date of the festival. Today, due to the growth of tourism the date is fixed on the third Saturday in February. Other events that accompany the festival are held accordingly.

The Boy's Hadaka Matsuri begins first at 6:00 p.m. First and Second grade boys scramble for mochi (soft rice cakes), Third and forth grade boys for Gofukuzutsu (octagonal treasure tube). Then, Fifth and sixth grade boys struggle for Takarazutsu (treasure tube).

On the banks of the Yoshii river, Eyo Winter Fireworks are displayed against the winter sky starting at 9:00 p.m. Meanwhile the thundering sounds of an all women's taiko (Japanese drums) group echo through the temple grounds.

Around 11:00 p.m. men wearing only the traditional fundoshi loincloth start to gather at the temple. As instructed by a guide they must first purify their bodies with water, run around the temple grounds and visit the statues of two deities - SenjuKannon and Go'ousho Daigongen 牛玉(ごおう). Then they push one another into the grounds. They cool their heated bodies again in the cold water and repeat the same routine.

Up to ten thousand participants cluster on the ground by midnight, and when all the lights are turned off a priest throws the sacred sticks from a window into the melee. The fierce struggle in the dark is the climax of the festival. The men who successfully clutch the sticks are the lucky men of the yearー their happiness is promised for the whole year.

Some men creep between the legs of their rivals. Shrewd participants perform clever, premeditated teamwork. Excessively fierce actions can cause injuries, but even this can be viewed as another charm of the Hadaka Matsuri.
source : www.city.okayama.okayama.jp

Japanese reference
List of Temples which celebrate EYO ceremonies


naked festival -
the little boy shivers
in his father's arms

Gabi Greve, 1998, Temple Saidai-Ji, Okayama


Temple Saidai-Ji in Nara
西大寺 光明殿 (奈良市西大寺芝町)

observance kigo for late spring

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Saidaiji Oochamori, oo-cha mori
西大寺大茶盛 (さいだいじおおちゃもり)
serving big cups of green tea at temple Saidai-Ji
..... oochamori 大茶盛(おおちゃもり) "big teacup"

Powdered green tea served in an oversized bowl of more than 30 cm diameter. People must help each other to drink from this huge bowl.

Second saturday and sunday of April

The temple was established in 765 in the capital.
This ritual tea drinking goes back to the Kamakura period. The priest Eizon 叡尊 had a wish fulfilled, which he had made on the New Year. He was greatful and performed a tea ceremony, sharing with all the others in a large tea bowl.
(Monks were not allowed to drink alcohol, otherwise he might have served ricewine.)
The name is taken from serving large portions of ricewine, sakamori, changed to chamori.

This ceremony is especially liked by the ladies of Nara.

The ceremony is also held on the second sunday of October.


observance kigo for late autumn

Koomyoo Shingon-E 光明真言会
Ceremony of the Komyo Mantra

October 3 - 5

In honor of Dainichi Nyorai

The Mantra of Light (光明真言, kōmyō shingon),
also called the Mantra of the Unfailing Rope Snare,
is an important mantra of the Shingon and Kegon sects of Buddhism, but is not emphasized in other Vajrayana sects of Buddhism. It is taken from the Amoghapāśakalparāja-sūtra (Chinese translation Taisho ed. no. 1092) or Sutra of the Mantra of the Unfailing Rope Snare of the Buddha Vairocana's Great Baptism and is chanted as follows:

On abokya beiroshanō makabodara mani
handoma jimbara harabaritaya un

Praise be to the flawless, all-pervasive illumination
of the great mudra [or seal of the Buddha ].
Turn over to me the jewel, lotus, and radiant light.

Initially, the mantra received little mention in East Asian Buddhist texts, and although Kukai brought the sutra to Japan in the 9th century, there are no records that he ever utilized it in tantric practices.
Records show gradually increasing use in the Heian Period, until the 13th century when it was popularized in medieval Japanese Buddhism by Myōe (Myoe), and later by Shingon monks Eison and Ninshō in their ministries.

Both the Mantra and the nembutsu were often incorporated by medieval Buddhists at one time or another, often in the same service. A common practice for the Mantra of Light was to sprinkle pure sand, blessed with this mantra, on the body of a deceased person or their tomb, based on teachings expounded in the Sutra. The belief was that a person who had accumulated much bad karma, and possible rebirth in Hell would be immediately freed and allowed a favorable rebirth into the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha.
This practice is known as dosha-kaji (土砂加持) in Japanese.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


observance kigo for mid-spring

. Dosha Kaji Hoo-E 土砂加持法会
memorial service to prevent natural disasters .

source : 仏像研究会 facebook

. Fudō Myō-ō 不動明王 Fudo Myo-O
- Acala Vidyârâja - Vidyaraja .


hatsugama ya ni no ude tsuyoki oochamori

first use of the kettle -
my upper arms are strong
to hold the big teacup

source : www.gendaihaiku.gr.jp

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the first use of the kettle to boil water for the first tea ceremony of the New Year.

***** . Tea Ceremony Saijiki .

Related words

***** . Tea Ceremony Saijiki .

***** Naked Festivals (hadaka matsuri)

. Saidai-Ji Temple Legends .


WHC workshop said...

sharing a GREAT cup
with all the haiku friends -
winter sunshine

Gabi Greve

more of my friend's haiku in the WHC .. LINK

anonymous said...

Oh wow, Gabi ... that bowl is big enough to bathe in. Thanks for sharing the image and haiku.

Anonymous said...

Dear Gabi,
I certainly am getting a new perspective from your postings. Thank you very much

Anonymous said...

That looks like one heavy tea cup. The girl must be thirsty!

Gabi Greve said...

One of the seven BIG TEMPLES of Nara

There used to be seven large temples in Nara, Nanto Shichi Daiji 南都七大寺
Nanto Shichi doo 南都七堂 - shichi daiji 七大寺 :