Shinto believers take an ice-cold dip to purify their souls for the new year
About 100 male and female Shinto believers marked the 60th annual Shinto Cold-endurance purification festival by bathing in an ice-cold pool of water in the Chou Ward of Tokyo, Japan on Saturday, January 11.
The congregation of very enthusiastic followers immersed themselves in a pool of water laden with two large ice cubes, as they put their hands together chanting “Haraedo no Okami,” an ancient purification prayer.
The New Year “Kanchu Misogi” event which took place in the premises of the Teppozu-Inari shrine, Tokyo, was preluded by warm-up exercises, where men wearing white loincloths and women wearing kimonos took to a small street run before moving on to the much anticipated cold-endurance event. “My body tightened from the cold water. I want to take my high school entrance exam feeling this kind of alertness,” said Natsuki Hashimoto, a 15-year-old student who participated in this year’s edition of the event with her family.
All ages actively participate in the event every year.
The yearly event which is held in Japan is normally approached with fasting and prayers. Shintoists believe that by taking part in the event, they get to purify their body and souls, as well as acquire good health for the New Year.
Shintoism is a native polytheistic religion of Japan dating back to the 7th century BC, centered on ritual and public shrines devoted to the worship of many gods, or kami. It is largest religion in Japan with over 100,000 Shinto shrines in the country.