After the New Year, Japanese who live in the countryside hold a traditional event, called ‘SAI NO KAMI’. It is held around January 14th in a shrine or park. A lot of ‘SAI NO KAMI’ are held at the middle of Japan. At this time we make ‘SAI NO KAMI’ on the snow. It is like a tower about 20 meters in height. The material of it is straw and bamboo. We burn it to pray for the rich harvest and the good health of the area’s people. The people who burn the tower are men and women who are born in the same year as the sign of the Chinese zodiac for the current year. Before burning, people put talismans, many sheets of calligraphy, Dharma dolls (they are red-printed good-luck doll with a black eye to be completed when a person’s wish is granted) and so on. There are some traditions which are followed, for example, you can have good health during a year if you roast dried cuttlefish next to the fire and eat it. If you burn your calligraphy sheets, you will become good at writing. Also, you can live safely if you burn talismans and Dharma dolls.
When I was younger, I went to the event every year with my friends and family. I looked forward to it every year. It was fun to roast dried cuttlefish with my family. Even though it was so cold outside, I could get warm next to the fire. I often burned many sheets of my penmanship paper as I prayed to be good at writing. I also enjoyed eating unusual foods such as roasted oranges. Almost no people in Japan seem to know about roasted oranges. I often brought a long pole to make it. First, I put an orange on a pole, and then I begin to roast oranges. Their taste is sweeter than usual ones. If you participate in the event, there are many things you probably haven’t seen yet.
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