“Tori-no-Ichi” to Pray for Thriving Businesses
Tori-no-Ichi, or a Festival of the Rooster, takes place on the three Days of the Rooster in November based on the Chinese zodiac, mainly in the Kanto area. Ichinotori, or the First Day of the Rooster, falls on the 2nd of November; ninotori, or the Second Day of the Rooster, on the 14th; and sannotori, or the Third Day of the Rooster, on the 26th this year.
As for the origin of the festival, there are two theories: one is that legendary prince Yamato Takeru no Mikoto prayed for a victory at Asakusa’s Ohtori Jinja shrine on his way to subjugate Eastern Barbarians around the turn of the first to second centuries. He later offered a rake from his armor at the shrine to celebrate his victory.
The other theory of the origin is that farmers in the Edo Era celebrated autumn harvest and offered roosters at the Ootori Jinja shrine (Adachi Ward, Tokyo). The Tori-no-Ichi Festival has been held from the Edo Era to this day at both shrines and has evolved into a festival for successful business and family safety.
The symbol of this festival is the Good Luck Rake, popular among Edoites as it was believed to scrape luck and happiness together. It is a lucky charm vibrantly decorated with ornaments of good luck, such as the Seven Deities of Good Luck; pine, bamboo, and plum flowers; oval gold coins in large and small sizes; a lucky mallet; a red sea bream and rice bales. Kumade-no-shodan, where an energetic rake seller and a buyer bargain over the price of a rake, is another feature of the festival. The discount amount is said to be equivalent to the amount of good luck brought to the buyer. The buyer, however, will not pay the reduced price, instead paying the original price and offering the discount amount to the rake seller as a gratuity. This is considered a culturally savvy way to buy a rake. When the rake is finally handed to the buyer, a ceremonial three-three-seven rhythmic handclapping is performed with the surrounding visitors to pray for the buyer’s happiness.
The Tori-no-Ichi Festivals held at the Ohtori Jinja shrine, the Hanazono Jinja shrine (Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo), and the Ookunitama Jinja shrine (Fuchu City, Tokyo) are referred to as the three biggest Tori-no-Ichi Festivals in the Kanto area. The festival is also held at shrines related to an eagle or bird across the nation. The Tori-no-Ichi Festival at the Ootori Taisha shrine in Sakai City, Osaka, the grand shrine of devotion for eagles, is particularly famous in the Kansai area.