New Year, New Omamori

On New Years in Japan, most people will head out to a Shrine or Temple for ‘hatsumode’, the first time out to a temple for the near year. During this visit people will pray, eat snacks from the food booths, pull omikuji (the fortune telling paper that you see tied on trees), and do other usual temple visit activities.

Shrines and temples are especially crowded on the morning of the 1st. One activity that I did this year, that in fact most Japanese even skip, is returning my Omamori. I usually have a few omamori tied to my backpack, they make good conversation pieces, and also protect me from evil. Good stuff.

The actual rule though, is that you’re supposed to return your omamori back to the same temple you bought it from after one year has passed. Then at the beginning of the New Year, all of last years charms will be burned and destroyed.

If you don’t return it, apparently your good luck charm will begin to bring you bad luck!

So for all of you who brought back omamori souvineers and haven’t been back to Japan to return them. HAH! You’re CURSED!

I’m good to go. That’s mine, the green one there on the pile. BURN!

– Harvey