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LastUpDate: December 1, 2010

Hakata Culture vol.47

Hakata’s Hidden Almanac: The Mikkaebisu Festival

Hakata’s Hidden Almanac: The Mikkaebisu Festival


Several times in this column we’ve discussed Kushida-jinja, the Shinto shrine that is the guardian divinity for Hakata. It’s known to the locals as O-Kushida-san. Hakata Gion Yamakasa, the climax of which is the annual early-morning race of festival floats through the streets of Fukuoka on July 15 is the most famous summer event in the city. Few people, however, know of the Miyoto Ebisu Festival in December. It’s held at the Ebisu-jinja, which is located near the mochi shop on the grounds of a subsidiary shrine of the Kushida-jinja. It is one of the few Ebisu festivals in Japan that features both a male and a female Ebisu (fisherman god). Hence, miyoto, which means husband and wife,in the festival name.

Years ago, many commercial and fishing vessels would come to the part of the seaside near the shrine known as Kushida Beach. Here, a ceremony was held in which people would share a meal with the divinities in supplication for commercial prosperity and a large catch. Since then, Ebisu has become known as the divinity for marital harmony in addition to that for success in business and fishing. The Kushida-jinja holds the Mikkaebisu Festival every year on the evening of December 2 and during the day on December 3. The ritual meals are held every half-hour from 17:00 to 23:00 on the 2nd and from 10:00 to 16:00 the 3rd.

Visitors can attend after a ritual purification ceremony at the Ebisu Kaikan. They take their seats according to the numbers on their tickets (which cost ¥1,500). Those conducting the event dress in white ceremonial robes and carry in a large sea bream on their shoulders as if it were a mikoshi, or portable shrine. They march around and through the visitors in time to taiko rhythms. Then more assistants carry in the same manner a large lacquered sake cup with a capacity of 18 liters for the joint celebration. A lottery with gifts is always held when the ceremony is over, and a shout goes up from the crowd every time someone hits a lucky number. There are also commemorative gifts for married couples, but this is a festival singles can enjoy just as well. An added bonus is that the Kushida ginan (gingko trees) on the shrine grounds are a lovely yellow just at this time of year.

For more information, call the Kushida Shrine at (092) 291-2951


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博多の隠れた歳時記・三日恵比須のお祭りって?

 ここに何度となく登場したことがあるのが、「お櫛田さん」と博多っ子に呼ばれる、博多の総鎮守・櫛田神社。福岡の夏の風物詩、博多祇園山笠のクライマックス、7月15日早朝の追い山が行われるところとして有名ですが、12月に行われるこの行事を知っている人は少ないようです。それは夫婦(みょうと)恵比須大祭・ご千座。櫛田神社には、櫛田の焼き餅屋さんから入って右側に末社の恵比須神社があり、これが全国的にも珍しいことに男恵比須、女恵比須が祭られている夫婦恵比須なんです。

 その昔、ここ神社あたりは櫛田浜という海岸で、年中商いの船や漁船が多く出入りしており、商売繁盛や大漁祈願が行われ、神さまと人が一緒に食事をする儀式(神人同食)「ご千座」が催されていたそうです。それ以来、恵比須さまは商売繁盛、豊漁豊作に加え、夫婦円満の神さまになられました。櫛田神社では、毎年12月2日と3日にご千座、通称、三日恵比須のお祭りがあります。2日は宵えびすで、午後5時から夜11時まで、3日は本えびすで午前10時から午後4時まで30分ごとに千座が行われます。

 恵比須会館の大広間でお払いを受け、千座券(1,500円・当日券あり)の番号順に入って席に着くと、白衣裃(かみしも)姿の世話人たちが大きな鯛を御輿(みこし)のようにかつぎ、太鼓に合わせて参加者の間を練り歩きます。鯛が登場するのも昔は浜だったから。つづいて、18リットル入るという朱塗りの大盃をこれまたかついで回り、全員で「祝いめでた」を歌い納めるという行事です。式典が終わると、もれなく賞品が当たるくじ引き大会の始まり。大当たりが出るたびにドッと歓声があがります。夫婦で行かれると記念品もあるとか。夫婦じゃなくても友人同士でも楽しめます。この時期、ちょうど境内にそびえる「櫛田の銀杏(ぎなん)」といわれる大イチョウがみごとに黄葉(こうよう)しているはずですよ。

 問い合わせ=櫛田神社 TEL (092) 291-2951



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