Sunday, April 20, 2014

Omamori: The Amulet of Protection and Luck (Emily Hara)

     Omamori are Japanese amulets that are usually sold at Buddhist temples. The meaning of "mamori" is protection and each omamori has a small piece of wood inside of it, which is the charm itself. The charm is blessed/purified at the shrine or temple and is what makes it potent. The exterior pouch that holds the charm is woven in the same fashion as traditional Japanese kimono cloth. The pouch is usually woven with different designs and patterns, ranging from family crests of the shrine/temple to cartoon characters. The modern ones have certain designs that represent the protection. For example, for air travel there are omamoris with a picture of a plane. Another significant design would be the color they use for certain omamoris. For instant riches the omamori color is usually gold, since it represents money. There are ones that are used for divorce and marriage luck. Divorce has the color of blue which represents sadness and negativity and the marriage is in red which shows love, and positivity.
      Many people carry omamori depending on the type of omamori, there are various forms of luck or protection it carries. There lucks for education, marriage, business, and family peace. For example, for traffic safety, ones with the suction cups are used to hang from windows or mirrors. Unlike the Christianity’s fish on car bumpers, the omamoris are kept inside cars, because they want to have it nearby. The significance of these amulets is that they give out an aura that makes one feel safe. People still believe in these charms because they know their god is looking over them wherever they are. The negative side of the use of omamori is that it will wear out after a year. So then visiting a temple each year will be mandatory to exchange the amulet.

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