Inu no Hi – A Shrine Visit for Pregnant Women

Pregnant in Japan / Monday, May 8th, 2017

Inu no Hi – A Shrine Visit for Pregnant Women

According to tradition, out of all the animals, dogs have relatively easy and smooth pregnancies. Therefore, on Inu no Hi (戌の日, literally “day of the dog”) Japanese women go to a shrine during the 5th month of pregnancy to pray for aid in getting through the remainder of her pregnancy and to have a safe delivery.

Inu no Hi is based on the traditional Japanese calendar. Using the animals of the 12 year cycle, the traditional Japanese calendar assigns one of these animals to one a day for a 12 day cycle. There are at least 2 Inu no Hi per month; some months have 3.

If you get a chance to see an old school Japanese calendar, you will see more writing than blank spaces. Every day has something associated with it.

Most Japanese aren’t familiar with these extra days (I certainly don’t know despite my years living here), and many concern themselves only with Rokuyou (六曜), the six day calendar system of lucky and unlucky days.

We happen to own such an old school calendar, a new year’s gift from our local supermarket. Here is the page for April 2017.

As you can see, April has two  Inu no Hi, April 17 and April 29 (noted by “いぬ” in the bottom left corner).

April 17 is a particularly auspicious day as it is  taian (大安), day of great peace.

Taian, being the most lucky day, means that nearly everyone wants to go to the shrines. Obviously, some women aim for taian, but others try to avoid the crowd.

Women with difficult pregnancies, or women who would rather not make the visit in extreme heat or extreme cold may adjust also their visit as they see fit.

My husband and I went to Kameido Tenjin, where we met up with the in-laws for lunch after my blessing.

My in-laws also gave me a personalized o-mamori (amulet) from a shrine in Ibaraki. The o-mamori even has my name, age and address on it.

When the priest did the blessings/chants, I could hear him saying my name and address. I suppose it’s to let the gods know where exactly to go. After all, they have many pregnant women to look over, so they can’t lose any time getting lost on the way.

Inu no Hi – A Shrine Visit for Pregnant Women

Check out other Japanese Celebrations for Baby:

Okuizome – An Elaborate Feast for Baby

O-Miya Mairi – Taking Baby to a Shrine

O-Shichiya & Meimei-shiki – Japanese Baby Naming Tradition

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