Parade of Spirits
The Parade of Spirits is a Daien cleansing ceremony meant to remove and ward off mischievous spirits from a home as well as a form of burial rites for when a person has passed away.
The Parade begins by having a Daien priest give a prayer to the Sun Goddess, Taiyo, asking that she bless the flame he is about to light so that the spirits of the house might see it. After the prayer, the priest places a candle in a bowl and lights its wick along with sticks of incense given to each inhabitant of the home. Once both the incense and candle are lit, the priest picks up the bowl and proceeds to walk around the home's interior while chanting a second prayer with the inhabitants following behind him. This second prayer is both to Taiyo as well as the home's spirits, asking the latter to follow the candle's flame out of the home and the former to guide the spirits beyond. After completing at least one circuit of each interior room, the priest leads the Parade outside where they make one lap around the exterior of the home. This is to gather any spirits that might linger near the house as well as create a ward around the home so that the spirits do not return. Having completed the final lap around the home, the priest declares the home cleansed and blows out the candle, ending the ceremony.
Components and tools
- Ceremonial candle: the candle is made with oil from the white lily flower, both to symbolize the cleansing of the home as well as make the flame burn brighter.
- Incense: the smoke from the burnt incense is thought to drive off unwelcomed spirits. The inhabitants are made to carry them throughout the Parade so that the smoke can cleanse each room as well as themselves of any ties to the spirit.
- Daien Priest: the priest conducts the ceremony, leading both the Parade and the prayers involved.
- Inhabitants of the home: the inhabitants participate so that they are cleanse along with the home from spirits.
Historically, the Parade has been used to cleanse a home when those living in it believe mischievous spirits are causing them bad luck. Currently, the ceremony is instead used to guide the spirit of the recently deceased out of the home where it may be free.
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