Chopsticks Ceremony at Hie Jinja

Tokyo Culture Tradition 2019.08.28
We all know that Japanese people use chopsticks when they eat their food, but what else do we know about it?

About the Shrine

Hie Jinja is another interesting Shrine in Tokyo.
It is located in the centre of Tokyo, Akasaka, right close to the Japanese national diet building and the imperial palace.
The year of construction of this shrine is unknown.

They carry out more than 30 events throughout the year and many of them are unique.
Like carrying out radio calisthenics, which is unusual for a shrine to be holding the event.

Chopsticks Ceremony

Amongst all the other events that this shrine holds, one of the unique ones is the Chopsticks Ceremony.

Here at Hie Jinja, rather than just throwing away used chopsticks, people bring them to be burned ritualistically, to show appreciation.

It is a part of the Japanese culture where they don't throw away an item, things like dolls, lucky charms and other objects, but instead, take them to a shrine or a temple as offerings.

Another reason that they do this is that in the old days, the Japanese used to believe that even a pair of chopsticks that were used once will have a slight bit of the owners' soul inside. Therefore if it doesn't get treated the right way they used to believe that there will be bad luck, even if that pair was made from two broken wood braches would cause bad luck if it gets chewed up by an animal.
This event is called Hashi Kansha Sai 【箸感謝祭:はしかんしゃさい】 and is one of the big events held here.
There are other shrines that have similar events called Hashi Kuyo【箸供養:はしくよう】 however, this one here is one of the biggest.

The event is held from 10:30 on the National Chopsticks Day, which is 4th of August, wherein Japanese August is Hachigatsu【八月:はちがつ】 and the Four is Yon【四:よん】 or Shi【四:し】 therefore, Ha-Shi 【箸:はし】as in chopsticks.

Having said that, the International Symposium of Studies on Chopsticks has the 11th of November as the national chopsticks day, because it looks like two pairs of chopsticks lying down. 11,11. (This is just due to the language barrier.)
So, next time when you need to renew your chopsticks or have old chopsticks that you don't need, take them over to this event!

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