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Okera - Mairi Ceremony

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What is the Okera - Mairi Ceremony? 

Okera Mairi refers to the ritual of visiting the Okera Matsuri Festival, held on New Year’s Eve to the dawn of the first day of the year. 

This is a Shinto ceremony, where okera, a medicinal herb, is set ablaze to cast away the negative and evil energies of the previous year and to fully welcome good fortune for the coming year. 

People can be seen walking around, keeping the fire ablaze on their lighted ropes of bamboo, swinging it around continuously as they head home.  

Need to Know

This ceremony is held at one of the popular cultural spots in Kyoto, the Yasaka-Jinja Shrine. But since this is held late at night to early morning, it would be good to plan your transportation or lodging. 

Did you Know

It is a custom to bring home embers of the fire to make zoni soup or light a candle. This is believed to usher in prosperity and good fortune. 

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