Omamori Charms Expire: Respectfully Returning and Disposing
During your trip to temples or shrines in Japan, you probably came across some charms or OMAMORI and some of you might have bought one or a few home with you as an added luck to yourself or to your friends and family.
Omamori Charms Categories
1.Health (健康) (Kenkō)
– 健康祈願 (Kenkō kigan) : For staying healthy and not becoming ill.
– 病気平癒 (Byōki heiyu) : For curing and recovering from a current illness.
– 長寿祈願 (Chōju kigan) : For a long and healthy life.
2.Safety (安全) (Anzen)
– 交通安全 (Kōtsū anzen)：For driving safely and preventing transport related accidents.
– 家内安全 (Kanai anzen)：For the safety and happiness of family members.
– 旅行安全 (Ryokō anzen)：For safe travels.
3. Academics (学業) (Gakugyō)
– 合格祈願 (Gōkaku kigan)：For passing academic examinations.
– 学業成就 (Gakugyō jōju)：For successful academic goals.
4. Financial Luck (金運) (Kin-un)
– 金運上昇 (Kin’un jōshō)：For increased financial fortune.
– 商売繁盛 (Shōbai hanjō)：For business prosperity.
5. Love (恋愛) (Ren-ai)
– 恋愛成就 (Ren’ai jōju)：For a fulfilling love life such as solving unrequited love.
– 縁結び (Enmusubi)：For deepening trust and luck in your current relationship.
6. Children (子宝) (Kodakara)
– 子授祈願 (Kosazuke kigan)：For wishing for a child.
– 安産祈願 (Anzan kigan) : For safe childbirth.
7. Evil Repellent (厄除け) (Yakuyoke)
– 厄除け (Yakuyoke)：For preventing evil and bad luck.
– 方位除け (Hōiyoke)：For protection from bad orientation.
– 開運除災 (Kai-un josai)：For protection during your year of bad fortune.
[Men aged 25, 42, 61 & Women aged 19, 33, 37]
Omamori Charms Expire
But did you know that these charms are believed to expire or lose their power after a year? Japanese people usually replace their charms with a new one that is fully charged with protection power after a certain amount of time. Moreover, certain types of charms such as ‘safe birth’ or ‘academical success’ are to be returned right after it has done its job.
But what are you supposed to do with your expired omamori charms?
Throwing it away sounds like the easiest route but it is considered rude and disrespectful to the gods that generously provided you with the protection you thought you needed.
For your peace of mind, let us guide you through this process so you can take care of this matter in the most polite and respectful manner possible.
Categorize Your Omamori Charms
First you need to know whether the charm belongs to a shrine or to a temple because it is believed that they are powered by different gods. Apparently it is extremely rude to return a temple’s charm to a shrine and vise versa. When you return your charms, you express gratitude so you need to know who you are giving thanks to. When you do something nice for someone, it does not feel good when they go and thank a different person for it right?
You can check whether your charm belongs to a temple or a shrine by seeing if it has the following characters written on it.
If you see 大社 (Taisha) or 神宮 (Jingū) written on it, it belongs to a shrine.
If you see 寺 (Tera/Ji) or 寺院 (Ji-in) on it, it belongs to a temple.
Bring Your Charms Back to The Temple / Shrine Where You Got It From
When you arrive to the shrine or temple, look for these characters 古札収所 (Kosatsu nousho)、古札受付 (kosatsu uketsuke), or something similar because that is where you will be dropping your charm off for the priests to take care of. If you can’t find it, ask the people who work at the shrine / temple. If you can’t go to the exact same temple or shrine, you can find a temple or shrine in your area that would take them. Just remember that shrine charms go to shrines and temple charms go to temples. We don’t want to be rude to the gods.
Send Your Charms to The Temple / Shrine Through Post Mail
If you live far away you can also send your charm to the temple or shrine through post by writing お炊き上げ希望 (otaki age kibou) on it. Some temples and shrines don’t accept this method so it is important to check before you do so.
Burn Your Charms in Your Backyard
It is not as simple as it sounds. You need to use Japanese Hanshi paper to wrap your Omamori charm together with a pinch of salt before you burn it. Don’t forget to express gratitude and respect to your charm regardless of it granting you with your wish.
Dispose Your Charms
If your are left with no choice but to throw your charm away, there is a correct and respectful way to do it.
First, spread white Japanese Hanshi paper on the table or floor.
Second, place the charm on the paper.
Third, sprinkle a pinch of salt on the left side, then on the right side, then once again on the left side.
Fourth, wrap the charm with the paper and put it in the burnable waste bin.
Most importantly, don’t forget to express gratitude during the process.
As we already mentioned several times here, the most important rule is to express gratitude. Say thanks not only to god, but also to the people around you and to yourself. Give yourself some credit too, you deserve it.
Read About Japanese New Year Traditions Here
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