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A Japanese Bride Ritual: Shinto Wedding Festivals

The majority of Japanese relationships were conventionally intimate affairs between members of the same family. Many people nowadays choose to have a more proper wedding ceremony held at a shrine or other religious site. Others continue to practice the more traditional rituals, frequently including a sakura ( cherry blossom ) ceremony, where the bride and groom cross a tree together to signify the renewal of their vows.

Shinto, the spirituality of Japan’s indigenous citizens, dominates these festivities for the most part. A priest officiates these marriages, known as shinzen shiki, in a festival that is both somber and joyful. The handful makes an announcement to the deity and asks for their approval during this tradition. The number three, which denotes unity and fortune, is used to make nine nibbles of sake in a service known as sansankudo. The bride and groom take oaths, exchange products, and therefore love each other before performing a royal dance to please the gods.

The shinzen shiki rites are no likely to vanish, despite the fact that marriages in the American type are becoming more popular in Japan. Toyohiko Ikeda, a deputy Shinto pastor at the Sugawara Shrine in Machida, with whom we spoke, about the customs that have evolved into more contemporary ceremonies.

After the primary meeting, the few attends a reception for the bride. Relatives and friends usually attend this proper gathering. Traditional gifts are typically presented in velvet and tied with mizuhiki, or report strips, to symbolize great fortune.

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