Small New Year’s ritual serving red bean porridge to pray for perfect health
In Japan, January 15 is called “ko-shogatsu”, which means small New Year and the last day of New Year’s period continued from January 1. People hang rice cake flowers called mochi-bana, burn New Year’s decorations like pine branches, and eat red bean porridge on ko-shogatsu day. These are unique customs. Temple and shrine in Kyoto have also various festivities related to small New Year.
At shimogamo shrine, porridge festival called Okayu-sai takes place January 15 annually to celebrate the day. Red bean porridge and soybean porridge are dedicated to gods to pray for productiveness of grain and national peace. After the ritual, visitors can have red bean porridge. It is said the red of red beans have the power to expel evil and you don’t get any accident or illness that year. This shrine is also world heritage site and known as a place that has special power. That makes it sound like the porridge has strong effect. Why not visit here to spend a healthy year?