2013 / Little Tokyo temple to celebrate lunar New Year, Feb 3

20130124 Koyasn lunar New Year Goblin

Oni (goblin) appears in an exorcism rite of tossing roasted soybeans at Koyasan Temple in Little Tokyo (Photo by Bishop Emeritus Taisen Miyata)

Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo will celebrate the New Year of the lunar calendar with an exorcism rite of tossing roasted soybeans or Mame-maki performance on Sunday, Feb. 3. The service for the lunar New Year will start at 1:30 pm.

The cerebration for the New Year of the lunar calendar is also known as Star Festival (Hoshi Matsuri), which is for deifying one’s own star and praying for its fate.

This annual ritual denotes the initiation of the New Year and the beginning of spring, a time when one wards off misled karma and brings good fortune for the year.

Star Festival will be preceded by a fire ritual as known as Goma in which misfortune of the past year is exorcised and expelled according to the Shingon esoteric Buddhist tradition.

Following the Goma ritual, the Mame-maki will be performed by the Fuku-Otoko (the lucky man of the year) and the Fuku-Onna (the lucky woman of the year) in traditional costume. This is done while shouting “Oni wa soto” (out with the devil) and “Fuku wa uchi” (in with good luck) repeatedly.

Bishop Emeritus Taisen Miyata of the temple will conduct the service for the new spring in the Year of the Snake (2013).

Emily Folick, the Nisei Week Queen for 2012-2013, will be the Fuku-Onna, and Yukikazu Nagashima, former Japanese editor of the Rafu Shimpo, has been designated as the Fuku-Otoko for the year of 2013. The two will toss roasted beans in the traditional manner. The oni (goblin) appears with a mask and costume holding an iron bar during the ceremony.

Every year, more than 300 people attend the rite in Koyasan Temple.

For those who are interested in the Star Festival prayer, ofuda (charms) and omamori (amulets), information is available at the temple office, 342 East First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, phone (213) 624-1267.