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Good Tidings of Great Joy

Posted by
GJC (Kyoto, Japan) on 25 December 2010 in People & Portrait.

A few days ago I posted another photo of my wife and child, which I took along with this one at a special Shinto ceremony called "omiya-maeri" (お宮参り). It is something like a christening in a Christian church: the infant is introduced to the shrine's deity and is offered protection. We were a little late to take her, since it is usually done when the baby is one month old and she is just now three months old. But the gods of Yasaka Shrine didn't seem to care and were happy to receive her.

In Kyoto it is traditional to paint a red Chinese character on the baby's forehead, in this case sho (小) which means small. The baby is also "wearing" the red kimono she will wear again when she goes for her next major shrine visit at the age of 3. In this case, it is too big to wear now so it is simply draped over her and her mother. (You can see another photo I posted earlier here.) The little bib she is wearing has three lucky symbols for happiness, perseverance and long life: the plum blossom, boughs of pine and the crane. Because our baby's name includes the character for chrysanthemum (菊) my wife is also wearing a hair ornament made of silk in the shape of the chrysanthemum. It is, in all, a beautiful ceremony and was a very special memory for us.

NIKON D300 1/160 second F/5.6 ISO 200 90 mm (35mm equiv.)

NIKON D300
1/160 second
F/5.6
ISO 200
90 mm (35mm equiv.)

kyoto
yasaka
shrine
shinto
kimono
八坂神社
お宮参り
京都
神道
菊ちゃん
着物
きもの