The annual Sechi Festival was held at Jiba from January 5 to 7, drawing over 91,000 people from both within Japan and overseas. They were treated to zoni, roasted rice cakes served with greens in a clear broth. This traditional event at the Home of the Parent started in the 1870s, when Oyasama shared the New Year’s offerings of rice cakes with people. On December 30, about 42,000 kilograms of rice cake offerings brought from all over Japan were received at Church Headquarters. Church Headquarters’ staff members, Shuyoka students, and Junior Seminary students carried the rice cakes into the Main Sanctuary and placed them on the four corners of the dais to be offered until January 3. On January 4, the rice cakes were taken down and sliced into small pieces by some 1,700 people in the North and West Worship Halls. The Sechi Festival was supported by some 6,000 people, including Church Headquarters’ staff members, Shuyoka students, and students of high schools and colleges.
Students Sechi Festival Hinokishin Corps
This year, a total of 569 students from all over Japan (312 from high school and 257 from college) participated in the Students Sechi Festival Hinokishin Corps. Under the motto “Pleasant hospitality with our joyful smiles and cheerful voices,” they dedicated themselves to hinokishin, working as servers, dishwashers, and ushers at the sites. During the hinokishin period, 85 of them attended the Besseki lectures as well.