‘Tori no Ichi’, famous annual festival held in November, on ‘Tori’ [Rooster] day, in Chinese calendar. This event has continued to today since Edo period. ‘Tori no Ichi’ is held at Temple of ‘Tori’ [Juzaisan Chokoku-ji] in Asakusa, Tokyo. Also, this is held at various shrines of Washi [Eagle] where many visit. They pray for good health, good fortune and good business. A number of Shinto shrines around the country hold a lively ‘festival of the rooster’. These festivals last throughout the night are held on the days of rooster in November.
Tori no Ichi Date:
The olden Japanese calendar is modelled from Chinese calendar following system, years, days, and hours. Hence, these are represented by repeating cycle of 12 animals. These include rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar. If 1999 was year of rabbit then 2000 was year of dragon, next animal in cycle.
Tori no Ichi Origin:
The origin of ‘Tori-no-Ichi’ festivals is related to Japanese mythology of Ameno-Hiwashino-Mikoto and Yamato-Takeruno-Mikoto. Both are worshiped as Gods on this day. Street is bustling with worshipers who celebrate it all day long. People give thanks to the divine favour. They pray for good fortune and good news in future. They ask God to protect them from any harm. Rake stalls are put in yard of shrines and lucky rakes are sold and decorated. The colourful symbols of good fortune are believed to bring wealth to purchasers.
Tori no Ichi Celebration:
Purpose of festivals, celebrated since Edo period (1603-1868), is praying for abundant harvests and prosperous sales. Some people join to buy colourfully decorated kumade [rakes]. These are sold by many vendors who set up stalls in and around shrine. The biggest festival is held at Otori Shrine in Asakusa, Tokyo. Some 200 stalls are set up that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year.
Tori no Ichi Significance of Selling Rakes:
‘Kumades’ [Rakes] are used for ‘raking in’ good fortune. ‘Kumades’ are available in a wide variety of sizes with decorations of good luck. These symbols include masks, replicas of gold coins, miniature treasure ships and chests. Some shop owners pray for greater prosperity so they buy slightly bigger ‘kumade’ each year. Some shops with long history traditionally buy ‘kumade’ that goes back many generations.