Since ancient times, the Japanese people practiced Toshikoshi-no-Ōharae, a prayer to purify and rid themselves of the year’s yakunan (illness, accident, injury, fight, misfortune etc.) and kegare, or “withered spirit.”
Over the course of the year, the energy of a person’s spirit is diminished by tiredness, stress, and other pressures, so Toshikoshi-no-Ōharae rituals are performed at the end of the year to cleanse and refresh this energy and recharge the spirit. Shinto Shrine of Shusse Inari in America provides these traditional ceremonies with mystic rituals that have been passed down through generations of the Shrine family.
One such ritual is the use of katashiro, or hitogata (when used for people) on which are written the mystic words, “Tokusa-no-kamdakara.” Hitogata are slips of paper that are cut into the shape of a person in order to represent the person it is being used for. In the Toshikoshi-no-Ōharae ceremony, the hitogata is thought to carry all of that person’s kegare. We hold this ceremony on the New Year’s Eve with reading the person who participate this custom. We also offer this ceremony for pets and vehicles. For more details and participation, please visit our website.
This is the great opportunity to experience Japanese culture. You can download hitogata, and katashiro for pets and vehicles, from our website here. Shrine members are mailed a hitogata automatically (included with Shrine membership), but will need to download katashiro and send the appropriate donation fee.
Shinto Shrine of Shusse Inari in America (Shrine Office）
9854 National Blvd., #284, Los Angeles, CA 90034