Tori-no-Ichi Fairs started in 13h century in Japan to thank for the harvest for the year. Kumade or rakes with wheat ornaments are sold at the shrines where the Fairs are held. A more elaborately decorated kumade with colorful symbols of good fortune to bring wealth and prosperity to the purchaser are sold on the same shrine premise by specialized vendors.
Shop owners and business person visit every year to worship and to obtain those kumade for a good luck and success in business and to pray for their family happiness for the coming year. In recent years, it is not confined to business success but the kumade are bought for better health, better marriage, safety and more diversified wishes.
Depending on the year, Tori-no-Ichi Fairs are held twice or three times during November in Japan. This year was the year with three Tori-no-Ichi, which is said to be colder than usual and hence more fires.
If you are thinking of buying one of these kumade, here’s some advice:
- 1. Those decorative kumade are sold only at these Fairs in November.
- 2. Buy a small kumade on your first visit, then with your success of the year, come back next year and buy a bigger one, then again the next year and keep obtaining a bigger one every year.
- 3. Each year, you need to bring back the old kumade to the shrine to be burned there before obtaining the new one.
- 4. You could enjoy bargaining for the price with vendor, but the amount you bargained is returned to him as a courtesy. That’s how it was in Edo Period (1603 – 1867) and considered as a smart buyer.
- 5. Prices range from around ¥1,000 to over couple hundred thousand yen, but the most popular range is said to be ¥20,000 to ¥50,000.
- 6. The dates for the Fair changes every year, so check out before visiting.
Wish you a prosperous year for the coming 2012!
shot at Otori Shrine, Tokyo Japan