Shinto Wedding Rituals: A Traditional Japanese Wedding

The majority of Japanese marriages were usually intimate unions between members of the same family. Several people nowadays choose to have their wedding ceremony held at a shrine or additional spiritual site. Others continue to practice the more traditional rituals, frequently including a sakura ( cherry blossom ) ceremony, where the bride and groom cross a tree together to honor the renewal of their vows.

Shinto, the religion of Japan’s indigenous persons, dominates these ceremonies for the most part. In a meeting that is both grave and joyful, these weddings, known as shinzen shiki, are officiated by a pastor. The couple asks for the kami’s grace during this ceremony, in which they declare their union. In a service known as the sansankudo, they consume nine drinks of the three cups, where the amount three signifies luck and unity. The bride and groom take vows, exchange items, and finally kiss one another in a royal party to appease the gods.

The shinzen shiki rites are hardly likely to vanish, even though Western-style ceremonies are becoming more common in Japan. Toyohiko Ikeda, a general Shinto preacher at Sugawara Shrine in Machida, with whom we spoke, about the customs that have evolved into more contemporary rituals.

After the major festival, the pair attends a reception for the bride. Relatives and friends usually attend this conventional gathering. Traditional gifts are traditionally presented in silk and tied with mizuhiki, or paper strips that represent excellent fortune, are customary.

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