Japanese New Year Ritual

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And in Japan the New Year’s Holiday period is the country’s most important break of the year. Many Japanese start the New Year’s break with the "ritual of purification," a ceremony performed by priests to remove evil spirits and bad luck.
This is Meiji Shrine in Tokyo one of the biggest in Japan.

These priests are about to conduct the "Oharai"(O-HA-RA-EE), or the "ritual of purification" ceremony.

This annual ritual performed on the last day of the year is believed to purify body and mind before the New Year.

Shinto priests shake the branches of an evergreen tree to "brush-off" evil spirits, bad luck and disease.

[Yasuhito Ono, Ceremony Attendee]: (Japanese, Male)
"I heard the brushing-off ritual gets rid of all the harmful energy from my body."

[Huyuka Kikuchi, Ceremony Attendee]: (Japanese, female)
"I wish God brushes off all the evil spirits from me before New Year's day."

More than three million people visited this shrine during last New Year's three-day holiday period.

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