Pagan & Shinto News: Japan Welcomes Year Of The Ox Amid Pandemic

Pagan & Shinto News: Japan Welcomes Year Of The Ox Amid Pandemic January 3, 2021

Top stories in Paganism and Shinto this week:

  • Japan welcomes Year of the Ox amid pandemic
  • UK: Stonehenge Tunnel legal action fundraiser nears £50k target
  • 2,500-year-old Greek Aphrodite temple discovered in Turkey

Read more below…

Left: Stonehenge, Pixabay. Centre: Year of the Ox votive plaque from Ise Shrine, public domain. Right: Statue of Aphrodite, 2nd c. BC, Tilemahos Efthimiadis, CC BY 2.0

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Oshougatsu (Japanese New Year) coverage

PM’s New Year visit to Ise Grand Shrine cancelled amid virus surge
Jiji Press
The Japanese government decided Monday to cancel Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s visit scheduled for Jan. 4 to Ise Jingu, a Shinto shrine complex in Mie Prefecture, central Japan, amid the resurgence of the novel coronavirus…

Fewer visiting Meiji Jingu shrine on New Year’s
NHK World
Crowds of people were visiting Meiji Jingu, a major Shinto shrine in central Tokyo, early Friday after the coronavirus outbreak put the brakes on the tradition of visiting the shrine overnight on New Year’s Eve…

Coronavirus looms over Japan’s New Year festivities
The Japan Times*
New Year’s Day is the biggest holiday in Japan’s calendar, but this year’s festivities were subdued following record highs in new coronavirus cases nationwide and calls from the government to stay home…

Pandemic keeps Japanese away from shrines over New Year’s
The Japan Times*
Shinto shrines across the country are seeing a drop in the number of people making traditional New Year’s visits, with many shrines opting to not accept visitors through overnight hours, along with other coronavirus countermeasures…

Huge crowds go to Shinto shrines on New Year to “pray for things to return to normal”
The New Year is a major holiday in Japan. There’s plenty of traditional (and dangerous) food to eat, plus the annual hatsumode — visiting a shrine to wish for health, happiness, and good fortune in the next year…

Staggering New Year visits to shrine amid COVID-19
NHK World
Some people in Hokkaido, northern Japan, made New Year visits to a local Shinto shrine a day earlier than usual in an effort to avoid congestion in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic…

After a year of anxiety, what can we expect from the Year of the Ox in 2021?
The Japan Times*
Feb. 12 marks the beginning of the Year of the Ox. The second animal of the Chinese zodiac, the ox denotes the hard work, positivity and honesty that will be manifested in all of us in the coming 12 months, according to astrologers…

As COVID-19 spikes, otoshidama (New Year gifts of money) go cashless in Japan
Unseen Japan
Thanks to COVID-19, the Japanese custom of otoshidama is going the cashless route this year – and some people couldn’t be more happy…

Sacred rope over Nachi Falls replaced for New Year
NHK World
Shinto priests have replaced a sacred rope over the Nachi Falls in Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, ahead of the New Year…

Hawaii: Hundreds attend COVID-modified New Year’s Shinto blessing
Hundreds received a New Year’s blessing at Daijingu Temple of Hawaii n Nu’uanu on Friday morning…

The seven lucky gods of Fukagawa: Ensuring a good year to come
Japan Today
Most of us are only too happy to see 2020 come to an end. And we all have high hopes for a better year in 2021…

Burger King releases new Whopper to ward off evil in Japan
The Japanese word “yakuyoke“, or “apotropaic” in English, means to “ward off evil” or “protect against misfortune“…

This Japanese New Year’s ritual is the fresh start we all desperately need
Fodor’s Travel
While we can’t erase 2020 from existence, Oosouji can help you clear it all out…

Pagan News

US: Wiccan initiates video project celebrating different religious holiday traditions
The Vindicator
The idea for the project came from Melanie Vincent, a Warren Heritage Center board member and a Wiccan, who was frustrated by the culture war debate about whether to say “merry Christmas” or “happy holidays” in December…

The impact of digital piracy on Pagan authors and publishers
The Wild Hunt
On Sunday Michelle Belanger tweeted about an Etsy store that was selling file downloads of Pagan titles written by a variety of authors…

Ireland’s modern druids: ‘There is hidden knowledge you are asked not to share
The Irish Times
The Tetteroos live near Killarney and know at least six other practising druids in Kerry…

UK: Primary school teacher spends her free time training as a Wiccan
Wales Online
Primary school teacher Sadie Bentley-Smokers is top of the class when it comes to casting spells to bring out life’s positives. For Sadie, who lives in Dartford, Kent, with her partner, Charlie Frake, 27, who works in IT, has devoted her spare time for the last two years to learning to be a witch or Wiccan…

Southampton ‘Satanic Wiccan’ makes a living on OnlyFans
Daily Echo
The 20-year-old grew up admiring Marilyn Manson, she now describes herself as a satanic wiccan and her OnlyFans content is often fetish based…

Shinto News

Date of Japanese holiday Setsubun changes to 2 February for first time in 124 years
Usually held on 3 February, festivities can vary from region to region, but often involve dressing up like ogres, throwing beans around the house for good luck, and eating a huge-ass sushi roll loaded with awesome stuff…

Savvy foxes celebrate festival online
Japan Forward
This year, so many events all over Japan have been either canceled or scaled down, but the residents of Kasama, found an ingenious way to keep their spirits up and local traditions alive…


Other News

Stonehenge Tunnel legal action fundraiser nears £50k target
Salisbury Journal
A fundraiser launched to cover the legal action against a decision to build a tunnel past Stonehenge has nearly hit its £50,000 target – with just two days until the deadline…

2,500-year-old Greek Aphrodite temple discovered in Turkey
Greek City Times
A team of Turkish scientists and archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 2,500-year-old Aphrodite Temple in the Urla-Çeşme peninsula in Turkey’s west…

UK: Piece of Great Pyramid found in cigar tin in Scotland could unlock mystery to how they were built
A group of Scottish museum researchers have ended their 2020 on a stellar note, discovering artefacts in a cigar box that belonged to the Great Pyramids of Giza…

‘Witch Hunts’ Past & Present

UK: Children are being accused of causing coronavirus using ‘witchcraft’
Huffington Post
Vulnerable children may be suffering horrific abuse behind closed doors after being blamed for coronavirus by believers in ‘witchcraft’ and demonic possession…

India: Mayurbhanj village woman hacked to death over suspected ‘witchcraft’
Ommcomm News
A village woman was allegedly killed by two neighbours suspecting her to be a ‘witch’…

Combating ‘witch’ persecution in Africa: Looking ahead to 2021
Sahara Reporters
While there have been reports of egregious abuses linked to witch persecution in Africa, very little is being done to eradicate this social menace…

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