Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Double the Daruma

The nearby city of Takasaki is renowned as the birthplace of the Daruma dolls. A Daruma is a round wooden doll with unpainted eyes. After buying one, you color in one eye and make a wish. If and when the wish comes true, you then color in the other eye. 

While this can be done at any time of the year, the New Year sees a bevy of festivals celebrating a fresh start and fresh hopes for the oncoming year. People bring their old Daruma with both eyes filled in, and give them back to the temple for a ritual burning. They then buy a new blank doll for a new goal or wish.

I had the fortune to go to two different Daruma festivals. The first was in Takasaki, and was at the temple popularly known as the birthplace of the Daruma. A few days later the festival took over central Maebashi. While it was much the same the second time around, with even many of the exact same booths and vendors, I never pass up a chance for festival food.

I bought a small Daruma myself, and made a wish. It hasn’t come true yet, but it has only been a month so I suppose I should be more patient! 

1 comment:

victoriasart said...

Are the vendors themselves dressed up to be a Daruma?