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Photo Wednesday: Omikuji

26 August, 2009 (06:00) | japan | By: xensen

This image of two women viewing omikuji, or rolled-up fortunes, comes from kalandrakas’ photostream. Kalandrakas writes:

Omikuji are random fortunes written on strips of paper at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan.

The omikuji predicts the person’s chances of his or her hopes coming true, of finding a good match, or generally matters of health, fortune, life, etc. When the prediction is bad, it is a custom to fold up the strip of paper and attach it to a pine tree in the temple grounds. A purported reason for this custom is a pun on the word for pine tree (? matsu) and the verb ‘to wait’ (?? matsu), the idea being that the bad luck will wait by the tree rather than attach itself to the bearer. In the event of the fortune being good, the bearer should keep it. Though nowadays, this custom seems more of a children’s amusement, omikuji are available at most shrines, and remain one of the traditional activities related to shrine-going . . .

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