Eary Spring in Nara - Shunie (A Ceremony of Fire and Water at Todaiji, Nigatsu-do) and Maiko & Geisha in Naramachi

posted Mar 7, 2016, 2:53 AM by ETSUKO Ito   [ updated Mar 7, 2016, 2:54 AM ]
What's the diference of Maiko and Geisha?
Last week I was watching Geisha and Maiko in Nara at Todaiji. Kikuno-san, (right) who is the leader of geisha in present day stood with beautiful blue kimono in front of people came to watch her and her disciple girl, Kikukame-san (left) who is such a lovely with prettey long-sleeved kimono and obi which was only allowed to wear under age of twenty (in Kyoto under fifteen). 
You probably know 'GEISHA' is a woman of the Japanese traditional arts, sometimes served sake and dance for man and very popular among foreign people but actually what is the difference of Geisha, Geiko and Maiko? In Tokyo these women are called Geisha, while in Kyoto they are called Geiko.  A Maiko is an apprentice of Geiko in Kyoto who should be teenager and not matured as adult lady.  The 'Maiko' in Chinese character indicates the meaning of a 'dancing child girl'. In Tokyo they are called as 'Hangyoku'. Maiko's prettiness are called 'Obokoi', which means 'very childish and cute' but when she grew up over twenty, then if she act like Maiko's dress up or childish behavior, people began to call her 'Ezukuro-shii' which means not cool or wise as a matured lady. So Geiko or Geisha dress up with chic colors, black is the typical color of kimono for them. 


SHUNIE- CEREMONY at Todaiji Nigatsu-do Hall  - From March 1st till March 14th-
The Shuie Ceremony welcoms the coming of spring in Nara. During the period, eleven priests called "Rengyo-shu", participate in the daily ceremonies, confine themselves to the temple; following a precise schedule. They undergo a various kinds of spiritual exercises to cleanse the sins of the old year by confession called "Keka".  They also pray for the world peace and prosperity of nations, on behalf of people.  In front of the altar of the 'Kannon (Bodhisattva)', the priests perform the religious ritual to pray and perform a ritual of repentance "Keka" six times.  Every evening, at even o'clock, the priests climb the stone steps of the Nigatsudo Temple one by one accompanied by an attendant, who carries a huge flaming torch lighting the way to the temple. Theh torch is made of a large bamboo pole and weigh about 40 kilograms (88 lbs), 8 meters in lengths.  It was really amazing. 
                                    

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