FESTIVALS December 2021
GISHI MATSURI (Faithful Retainer Festival)
at Kosho-ji temple 興聖寺 in Suehiro-machi
DOGO=ONSEN NENMATSU OSOJI 年末大掃除 (Year-end cleaning) 9:30-10:00
The Dogo bath buildings are cleaned at the end of the year so that everything will be fresh for the New Year. Big bamboo brooms about 6 meters long and 2 meters wide are used. (Tel. 089-921-5141)
The baths are closed on the following days for cleaning:
Honkan (Main Bath), Ashiyu (foot bath) Dec. 7
Bekkan (Bath Annexes) Asuka-no-yu
飛鳥乃温泉and Tsubaki-no-yu 椿の湯 Dec. 8
Dec. 6 HARI-KUYO 針供養 (Memorial Service for Needles)
Hari-kuyo started in the 18th century in the Edo era to give women a break in those days of danson-johi
男尊女卑 (predominance of men over women). Broken or old needles were placed at a small altar and people gave thanks to the needles’ faithful service. Women did not do needlework on that day. This traditional event has been handed down as an annual event of schools for tailors, dress and kimono makers. In Matsuyama it is observed at Matsuyama Business College in 1-bancho 1-chome 4, where teachers and students of fashion-beauty course stick about 1,300 needles used in dress-making classes into large konnyaku (devil’s tongue) cakes at an altar, giving thanks to them and praying for better sewing skills. The priest of Shoju-ji chants a sutra. Later the needles are put in Harizuka (a burial mound for needles) at the temple.
Dec. 13 SUSUHARAI 煤払い (Soot Sweeping) Temple Cleaning at Ishite-ji
This is not only a thorough cleaning, but it also has the religious significance of purification. The faithful of Ishite-ji will clean the temple as a rite to prepare for welcoming the New Year. The cleaning will begin at 9:00.
Dec. 13 HO-ONKO法恩講 (The memorial service for St. Shinran 親鸞聖人)
11:00-14:00 At Enko-ji temple 圓光寺 on Gintengai Street near Matsuyama City Station
Furofuki-daikon no Osettai ふろふき大根のお接待 (Service of Daikon simmered in kelp broth with yuzu (citrus)-flavored soybean paste sauce) Free servings
St. Shinran (1173-1262) was a Buddist monk of the Kamakura era (1185-1333), who founded the True Pure Land Sect (Jodo-shinshu 浄土真宗). It is said that furofuki-daikon was introduced to Shikoku by Ogyu Sorai 荻生徂徠 (1667-1728), who was a famous Confucian scholar
儒学者 in the Edo era (1603-1867) and it is still a favorite food. Enko-ji was built about 350 years ago. When Matsuyama City was established in 1889, the city office was at the temple for about two years until a new office was built. In the precinct stands a stone monument on which “the Birthplace of Matsuyama City” is written.
Mid to late Dec. SHIWASU 師走 (The year-end rush)
Shiwasu was the name used for December in the old days when Japan followed the lunar calendar. It is still being used today to mean the last month of the year, when everybody is very busy trying to tidy up loose ends. The shi in shiwasu means a teacher or master in education or the arts, or a religious leader such as a priest. Wasu means to run. In other words, shiwasu is the time when even the teacher, who is ordinarily calm and dignified, has to run around trying to get everything done.
Dec. 22 TOJI 冬至 (Winter Solstice)
It is said that you won’t get a cold or paralysis if you eat pumpkin or azuki-gayu, porridge with azuki beans, on toji, the shortest day of the year. Some people take a bath with yuzu peel (citron).
Dec. 24 CHRISTMAS EVE
Christmas decorations appear in stores in November. In Japan the climax of the season is the 24th. Lively parties are held with the ‘traditional’ Christmas cake and champagne. Christmas day itself is not generally celebrated.
Dec. 30 Alternative Event of Seijinshiki成人式 Canceled on January 10
At Gymnasium Main Arena of Sogo Community Center
Seijin shiki (coming-of-age celebration) planned on January 10
was canceled to prevent the spread of COVID 19. An alternative event will be held on December 30. Invitation cards have already been sent to those who were born between April 2 in 2000 and April 1 in 2001 and had resident’s cards in Matsuyama city on the day of November 1, 2020, including those of foreign nationalities.
Further Information: Matsuyama City Office Chiiki-gakushu-shinkoka 地域学習振興課
Tel: 089-948-6813 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dec. 31 OMISOKA大晦日 (New Year‘s Eve)
On this day people finish doing the yearly house cleaning and prepare osechi-ryori, the New Year’s food. Late at night people eat toshikoshi-soba, buckwheat noodles, and
go to a local temple to ring out the evils of the past year and pray for health and happiness in the coming year.
Dec. 31 JOYA-NO-KANE 除夜の鐘 (The watch-night bell)
Joya-no-kane is the ringing of temple bells just before midnight on New Year’s Eve. The bells are struck 108 times to relieve the human suffering caused by men’s earthly desires, which amount, according to Buddhist belief, to 108. In Matsuyama, one of the most popular places to go at midnight is Ishite-ji. There you ring the bell, rub smoke from the large incense burner over your body to insure good health and are given a pair of chopsticks and small mochi, rice cake.
Closed on the last few days of the year
Government offices: Dec. 29 to Jan. 3
Shimin service centers —– Iyotetsu Takashimaya: Dec. 29 to Jan. 3
Fuji Grand Matsuyama: Dec. 29 to Jan. 3
Banks: Dec. 31 to Jan. 3 / Post offices: Dec. 31 to Jan. 3
City libraries —- Chuo, Mitsuhama, Hojo, Nakajima: Dec. 28 to Jan. 4
City passport center: Dec. 29 to Jan. 3 (Fuji Gran Matsuyama Annex 2F)
NOTES: Events might be canceled or postponed to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus infection. Please check the latest information.