Ryukyu Dyansty era ritual Momoso-omonomairi re-enacted at Shuri Castle

Ryukyu Dyansty era ritual Momoso-omonomairi re-enacted at Shuri Castle

The solemn Ryukyu Dynasty era Momoso-omonomairi ceremony being re-enacted at Shuri Castle, January 21, Shurikinjocho, Naha

January 22, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

A Ryukyu dynastic era ritual, Momoso-omonomairi, was re-enacted on January 21 at Shuri Castle Park in Shurikinjocho, Naha. Priestesses made a pilgrimage to the sacred site in the castle grounds, praying for things such as a long life for the emperor, safe sailing and bountiful harvests. A large number of spectators watched the solemn, mostly-female ceremony. The ritual was observed again on the 22nd.

In the Ryukyu Dynasty era, the ceremony was said to be observed around six times annually. High priestesses from Ooamushirare in Mihira and representatives from the dynastic government, around 30 people in total, would depart from the castles inner garden, or Unah, and pray at the Suimui Utaki in the lower garden, or Shichaunah. After this the priestesses would make a pilgrimage to the Kyo-no-uchi, which was off limits to men.

The unique atmosphere of priestesses singing a ceremonial song while making the pilgrimage gave spectators a taste of a culture that differs greatly from modern Japan. One spectator from Hyogo, 32-year-old Yukiko Fukada, said, “The ceremony had a holy feel to it.”

(Translated by T&CT and Sam Grieb)

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