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Published on : Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Omizutori or the annual, sacred Water-Drawing festival that takes place in the Nigatsu-dō of Tōdai-ji, Nara, Japan is set to welcome tourists. The festival witnesses Priests at Todai-ji Temple, famous for its enormous statue of Buddha, confess their sins before the Eleven-faced Kannon enshrined in Nigatsu-do Hall, and also pray for world peace and a rich harvest for 14 consecutive days. This ritual, called Shuni-e, has continued since 752.
During this period, an event known as Otaimatsu is really worth seeing. Priests run to and fro along the corridors of Nigatsu-do waving huge pine torches. It is believed that if you are showered with these fire sparks, you will be protected from evil things.
The Omizutori, the highlight of this event, is performed early on the morning of the 13th. Water which only springs forth in front of the temple building on this very day is drawn up and offered to the Buddhist deities. This water is said to have special powers for curing all disease.
This spring water is believed to reach Todai-ji after passing underground for more than 10 days from Obama City, Fukui Prefecture. Even today, the Omizuokuri ceremony is performed on March 2nd at Jingu-ji Temple in Fukui Prefecture to see off the departure of the divine water.
Water that has been drawn up is poured into a pot the following day, and to this pot they add water taken from a different pot which has been continuously replenished for over 1,200 years – the resulting mixture being preserved anew.