Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Flash

Sake Barrels..Nara

Barrels of sake are broken open (kagami biraki) during Shinto festivals and ceremonies such as weddings,the launch of new businesses or the celebration of sporting victories.The sake used is called iwai-zake and is served free to all to spread good luck.In the New Year a special type of iwai-zake named toso is consumed.
The phrase kagami biraki also refers to a practice that happens around January 11 each year.During the holidays prior to New Year an offering of mochi (sticky rice cakes that have been pounded) is placed in the house altar or tokonoma as an offering to the gods or deities who visit over the period.The ornamental mochi is then removed on January 11th and broken into pieces by hand or hammer before being eaten. (Check Wikipedia for more details).

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