Exorcizing Evil Spirits by Hot Water RitualJonangu Shrine, Coldest Season in Kyoto
"Yutate Shinji," a prayer for good health was held on January 20, said to be the coldest time in a year in the twenty four seasonal turning points of the old Japanese calendar, at Jonangu Shine, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto. Flying droplets and steam sprayed over visitors as "Miko," or shrine attendants, shook bamboo branches which had been dowsed in boiling water.
After the ritual, four shrine attendants holding folding fans or bells performed "Kagura," a sacred dance. Following this, a shrine attendant dipped bamboo branches into the caldron containing hot water, to which purifying salt and offerings of rice and Japanese sake had been added, then vigorously scattered the hot water side to side. Evil spirits are said to be driven away after being splashed by the hot water. Tradition also has it that bringing "Fukuzasa," or a lucky bamboo branch, back home will bless one with good luck.
Midori Takahashi, a housewife from Saitama Prefecture said, "I prayed for good health for the year. I will carefully bring home a lucky bamboo branch."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)