Church Headquarters held its traditional new year event called the “Sechi Festival” from January 5 to 7 at the Home of the Parent. For this event, followers and visitors come to the Home of the Parent to partake of zoni: a hot, clear broth with greens and charcoal-grilled rice cakes offered to God the Parent at the New Year’s Day Service at Jiba. This tradition has continued over a century, dating back to the days when Oyasama was physically present. This year, the 181st year of Tenrikyo, a total of 73,873 people returned to the Home of the Parent to join this event, representing an increase of 2,762 people from last year.
On each day, the gates were opened at 10:00 a.m. and closed around 1:00 p.m. After offering their first prayers of the year at the Main Sanctuary, individual and group pilgrims were treated to a celebratory sip of sake at the gate. Then they proceeded to one of the six venues to savor zoni.
To support this event, approximately 6,300 people engaged in hinokishin—including resident and other staff members of Church Headquarters, students of Shuyoka (the Spiritual Development Course) and Tenrikyo schools, and members of the Students Sechi Festival Hinokishin Corps. During this year’s three-day festival, 24.8 tons (54,675 pounds) of rice cakes, 3.189 tons (7,031 pounds) of greens, 42,570 liters (11,246 gallons) of broth, and 399.6 liters (106 gallons) of sake were served.