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Tondo-seasonal event/とんど焼き

This article can be read in about 7 minutes.

Tondo held in Shobara city, Hiroshima/広島県庄原市のとんど


The 15th of January is called “Koshougatsu” which means the day of the end of New Year’s series of event.
There is a Shinto ritual conducted by Shinto priests and locals to pray for their happiness and good health all through the year.
Although it varies depending on the region, it’s common to burn the Kadomatsu and Shimekazari used for New Year’s, old Shinto tablets and used papers for practicing calligraphy.
Shinto priests or local elders marshal by reciting a Shinto prayer.
Some believe that they will be able to see off the Toshigami deity who came to their house on New Year’s Day with the event.
Others believe that they will be able to avoid catching a cold and live a healthy life all through the year when you warm yourself by the fire, when we eat grilled rice cakes over its ember and drink sacred Sake or rice wine offering toward the local Shinto tutelary deities.
The other belief is that the higher the fire of burning their calligraphy papers rises, the greater their handwriting will improve. 

This annual event is conducted across Japan and is called by many different names such as TondoDonto, Otakiage, Sagiccho, Onibidaki, Saino-Kami and so on.

We’ll share one of the annual events called “Tondo” held at a village in Shobara city, Hiroshima prefecture, so that you could understand what this event is.

In the morning, everyone in the neighborhood cuts bamboos and assembles them in the rice field. 
The sacred Shimenawa ropes used for New Year’s decorations are gathered and put under the assembled bamboos.
And then, we do the first calligraphy of the New Year and put it over the assembled bamboo.
After offering Sake, rice, dried fish and salt to Toshigami deity, we take photos together in front of the decoration as a remembrance.
An elder of our village says to start the ceremony that May everyone be peaceful and healthy.
After clapping our hands twice and praying toward the decoration called “Tondo” with our hands held, persons born in the Year of Dragon and a village leader put it on fire together.

Although it was a calm weather with cold air, sudden wind made the fire strong.
It caused the big sound of breaking the bamboos.
In addition, dragon painting drawn on Japanese Washi paper became smoke while burning and climbed up to the sky like a dragon.

For your information, this dragon painting was drawn just for the event, which means it will be burned.
I guess it might have a similar feeling toward cherry blossoms for Japanese people to find a beauty of short life after a good achievement.

It is also a great social gathering for the local community.
It’s better to wear casual clothes when you join it, because your dress might have holes due to the fire powder.

【Translation for language learners of either English or Japanese】/英語・日本語学習者向け翻訳 えいご ・  にほんごがくしゅうしゃむ  ほんやく


この年中行事は、日本中で行われており、『とんど』、『どんと』『お焚き上げ』、『左義長さぎちょう, さぎっちょ』『鬼火焚き』、『さいの神』など様々な名前で呼ばれています。








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