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Miyamairi (宮参り, literally "shrine visit") is a traditional Shinto rite of passage in Japan for newborns. Approximately one month after birth (31 days for boys and 33 days for girls,) parents and grandparents bring the child to a Shinto shrine, to express gratitude to the deities for the birth of a baby and have a shrine priest pray for his or her health and happiness. The practice is not dissimilar to a Christian infant baptism.
Today, most Miyamairi are practiced between one month or 100 days after birth. In famous and busy shrines, the ceremony is held every hour, often during weekends. A group of a dozen babies and their families are usually brought in the hall, one group after another. Before the altar, a Shinto priest wearing a costume and headgear appears between the group and the altar, reciting a prayer and swinging a tamagushi right and left. During the prayer, the priest cites the name of the baby, the names of the parents, the family's address, and the baby's birthday. Afterwards, the parents and grandparents come forward, one by one, bow to the altar, and place tamagushis upon it.
At the end of the ceremony, sake in a red wooden cup is given to each person in attendance; small gifts are often given to the family.
A shrine will typically charge between ¥5,000 and ¥10,000 per baby.
- Alice Mabel Bacon, "Japanese Girls and women" revised and enlarged edition, Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, The Riverside Press Cambridge, 1902
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