Thursday 10th March 2011
Omizutori – March is the Water-Drawing Festival in Japan
Omizutori is a festival that takes place March 1st – 14th at the Todai-Ji Temple, Nara, Japan.
The ceremony is to cleanse people of their sins and to usher in the Spring of the New Year. It dates back 1,000 years and consists of Buddhist priests drawing up healing waters and waving burning pine torches in the air, drawing circles. It is believed that if you are showered with the fire sparks from these torches you will
ignite be protected from evil spirits.
The Omizutori, the highlight of this event, is performed early on the morning of the 13th. Water which only springs forth in front of the temple building on this very day is drawn up and offered to the Buddhist deities. This water is said to have special powers for curing all disease.
This spring water is believed to reach Todai-ji after passing underground for more than 10 days from Obama City, Fukui Prefecture. Even today, the Omizuokuri ceremony is performed on March 2nd at Jingu-ji Temple in Fukui Prefecture to see off the departure of the divine water.
Water that has been drawn up is poured into a pot the following day, and to this pot they add water taken from a different pot which has been continuously replenished for over 1,200 years – the resulting mixture being preserved anew.
Yet another fascinating festival from the land of the rising sun.