Have you ever wondered why mounds of salt are kept outside restaurants in Japan?
Salt is often used for purification rituals all over the world and in Japan, this stems from Shinto.
Curious to know more uses of salt in Japan? Then read on.
Sumo ring : shio-mawashi
Shio is salt and mawasu means to circulate.
One of the most significant uses of salt, probably the most visible, is when sumo wrestlers sprinkle fistfuls of salt into the ring before a bout. This is done to purify the ring.
Outside restaurants or shops: Mori-jio
Mori means pile and shio when combined with mori is read as “jio.”
Conical salt piles can be seen outside well-known restaurants and shops. Placing salt outside is to ward off evil and is considered as a means to purify the premises. Some people also consider this as an offering to the gods.
Other than restaurants and sumo tournaments, salt is also sprinkled for a “ground breaking ceremony” (jichinsai) before building a house. The ceremony is performed by Shinto priests appeasing the God of Earth. Once the house is built, salt is also sprinkled in front of the house to keep evil spirits away.
Do you know of any other peculiar uses of salt? Maybe you have similar rituals in your country too!