New Year’s Day Service

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The New Year’s Day Service (Gantan-sai 元旦祭), held at Tenrikyo Church Headquarters in Jiba on New Year’s Day every year, is one of Tenrikyo’s regularly scheduled Services. The New Year’s Day Service at Church Headquarters begins at 5:00 a.m. Regional churches also usually hold New Year’s Day services at various times.[1]

New Year’s festivities of various forms are celebrated across the globe, and it is no different in Japan, where Tenrikyo originated. Hatsumode, or first visit to a shrine of the year, is still practiced in largely secular Japan. Shrines and temples hold New Year’s festivities on a variety of scales. Some have New Year’s events starting at midnight.

Among the Services that were forced upon the organization due to the influence of State Shinto, Tenrikyo has only kept the practice of holding New Year’s Day Services as well as the Spring and Autumn Memorial Services in March and September. The remainder of Services that Tenrikyo once celebrated on national holidays were abolished after World War II.

New Year’s Day Service at Church Headquarters

As noted above, New Year’s Day Service at Tenrikyo Church Headquarters begins at 5:00 a.m. The Shinbashira reads a service prayer in the Main Sanctuary expressing gratitude for God’s blessings and protection and resolutions for the New Year on behalf of followers. This followed by a performance of the Kagura Service and Teodori.

After the Service, performers then go to the Foundress’ Sanctuary to express their New Year’s greetings to the everliving Oyasama. They then partake New Year’s sake.

After paying respects at the Memorial Hall, Service performers gather in the Church Headquarters Assembly Hall to give their New Year’s greetings to the Shinbashira. The Shinbashira then delivers his New Year’s address.

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  1. This page is largely based on 『改訂 天理教辞典』 Kaitei Tenrikyo jiten, pp. 235–6.