Tenrikyo Church Headquarters held its traditional new year event, the “Sechi Festival,” from January 5 to 7 at the Home of the Parent. Followers and visitors came to Jiba and enjoyed a bowl of zoni—a hot, clear broth with greens and charcoal-grilled mochi rice cakes that had been offered to God the Parent at the New Year’s Day Service at Jiba.
This tradition has continued for over a century, dating back to the days when Oyasama was physically present. The festive event, which had been canceled over the last two years, drew a total of 31,859 pilgrims including many church groups and families, creating a lively atmosphere in the Home of the Parent.
The festival venues opened at 10:00 a.m. on each of the three days. After offering their first prayers of the year at the Main Sanctuary, pilgrims were guided to one of the four venues to savor zoni. After sanitizing their hands at the entrance of the venue, the pilgrims each enjoyed a bowl of hot, delicious zoni and then received a pack of sliced mochi rice cakes on their way out of the venue.
To support this event, approximately 4,500 people engaged in hinokishin—including resident officials of Church Headquarters, head ministers of directly supervised churches, heads of dioceses, staff members of Church Headquarters, and students of Shuyoka (the Spiritual Development Course) and Tenrikyo schools. Their activities included serving zoni, guiding visitors, roasting mochi rice cakes, and distributing sliced mochi to pilgrims.