Kyoto Shimbun 2013.7.1 News

Dignified Chigo in "Osendo-no-Gi" Ritual
Gion Festival Beginning

The "Osendo-no-gi" ritual, where young children, including a sacred child called "Chigo," and other members of the Gion Festival Naginata Hoko float, based in Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, pray for the safety of the festival, was held on July 1 at Yasaka Shrine, in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto. In each Yamahoko community, the "Kippu-iri" opening ritual marked the start of the month-long Gion Festival.

Just before 10:00 a.m., Daisuke Shirai, the Chigo, led hand in hand by his father, passed through the Minamiromon Gate with Yushi Yamashiro and Shinichiro Uno, who play the roles of the Chigo's assistants called "Kamuro." After Shirai, attired in a ceremonial costume known as "Suzumi-isho," or long-sleeved kimono and pleated skirt made out of cool kimono fabric, reported that he was serving as the Chigo in a ritual held in the main shrine, he walked around the main shrine three times under the shade of a red umbrella and put his hands together with a dignified expression.

In addition, "Kippu-iri" rituals were performed at the town halls in a total of 17 Yamahoko communities, including Kanko Hoko, Tsuki Hoko, and others. In the evening, "Nikai-bayashi," or a traditional practice for "Gion-bayashi" festival music began, enhancing the festival mood.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Praying for the festival's safety, the Chigo and other members of the Gion Festival Naginata Hoko float walk around the main shrine (10:50 a.m., July 1, Yasaka Shrine, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto)