Miare shinji, Mikage matsuri – Hollyhock festival of the Kamo Shrines

A divine manifestation rite and Mi-kage Festival. A festival of both Kamowakeikazuchi Shrine (Kamowakeikazuchi jinja) (Upper Kamo) and Kamomioya Shrine (Kamomioya jinja) (Lower Kamo) in Kita Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. On May 15 there is a procession. It is called the Hollyhock Festival (Aoi matsuri) because the worshippers decorate everything from the oxen and horses to their flower caps with hollyhocks and katsura. Before the festival there is a “Miare Rite” at Kamowakeikazuchi Shrine. At the manifestation place, trees for the divine possession are raised within a himorogi and enclosed with a hedge of fresh brushwood. In front of the stand is white sand is piled up into two cone-shaped heaps. The Rite is conducted by five shrine officials (shinshoku) in front of the himorogi on the night of the twelfth. The lights are extinguished and offerings are made. After this, the miare (temporary manifestation of the deity) begins. The shrine officials chew the “Honorable Aides for Grasping (tsukami no goryō).” The deities mentioned in the secret songs that are silently intoned possess the five sakaki trees and are carried to the Inner Hall (honden) where they are installed. Also on this day at Kamomioya Shrine in Lower Kamo, the kami are greeted by a procession of sacred horses (shinme) that have gone as far as Mt. Mikage at the base of Mt. Hiei, in a ceremony called the Mikage Matsuri. The deities in their temporary manifestation are placed on the backs of the horses and brought to the main shrine.
The Hollyhock Festival is divided into three parts: the imperial palace rites, the street rites (the procession), and the shrine rites. The famous grand procession leaves the Kyoto Imperial Palace in the morning at goes to Kamomioya Shrine. After the shrine rites, it arrives at Kamowakeikazuchi Shrine. It returns to the palace in the evening.
There is an annual festival called the Hollyhock Festival on April 24 at Kono Shrine in Miyazu City, Kyoto Prefecture. Called a sword-waving rite, swords three shaku  long (about three feet) are hidden inside poles four shaku long. Tassels of paper are attached to both ends and the performers wave these about their back and hips. A hayashi song called sasa-bayashi is included. The livestock market during the Hollyhock Festival is called the Hollyhock cow market.

Mogi Sakae Source: Encyclopedia of Shinto

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