January 18, 2010

Fortunate Fortune

I went to Tokorozawa Shrine last week for the 'Hatsu-mode(初詣),' the first visit of the year.

Like many people who go to the shrine, I got an 'Omikuji(おみくじ).' It is a small piece of paper with a fortune written on it. You can find it in most temples and shrines, especially at the start of the year.

All the Omikuji are in a box like this, where you pay 100yen, and pick one out.

Inside the box, there are many (well, not so much in this one...) Omikuji.

When people open it, everyone always looks for the main fortune that tells you how lucky or unlucky you are. It has many levels ranging from 'Dai-kichi(大吉),' the best of luck, to 'Dai-kyo(大凶),' unbelievably bad luck.

I got Dai-kichi this year for the very first time! Yay! But the Omikuji not only tells you your fortune but gives you advise as well. Like mine said that my year would be full of wonderful experiences but that things could go downhill if I don't appreciate it. Good advice.

So what can you do when you get 'Kyo(凶),' a bad luck Omikuji? Well, you can tie your Omikuji as high as you can on branches of trees within the shrine. I'm not quite sure why, because there are so many different traditions regarding what to do with an Omikuji, but I think part of the reason is that some believe by tying it to a tree, you can leave the bad luck there with the tree.

Very interesting, this Omikuji business! I hear there are special Omikuji to tell your fortune in love or money.

I'm curious if there's something like this in other countries?


henny said...

Shrines are still open to these days for Omikuji? I didn't know that. Thanks, you explained it much better than what I've searched from the net :).
In Indonesia, fortune telling and the like aren't very common considering the background of predominantly Indonesian is Muslim.

VP said...

What a story about an interesting tradition! I don't know of anything like this here in Italy...
Horoscopes and tarots are popular but that's a different story.

Birdman said...

Cool! Seen the gum tree in Philly???? Ha!

Babzy said...

interesting tradition ,it doen't exist here, love your shots ! I can predict you will have a beautiful year ;)

Kaori said...

Henny, I think most shrines are open for hatsumode until mid january! where do muslims go for new year? ;)

VP, tarots! that sounds very italian ;)

Birdman, now you've got me curious! what's a gum tree? :)

Babzy, thank you! i'm sending some of the luck your way, have a great week ;)

arabesque said...

interesting story. ^0^
i would love to get one omikuji when i visit japan! ^0^
i think we only have the typical fortune telling in here but in Buddhist traditions, they have that one too, you shake a bottle full of sticks that looks like incense, choose one that pops out,
on that stick, there;s a corresponding no., where you'll get it from a pile of boxes,
and then that piece of paper will tell whether you have a good fortune or not. ^0^

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