Jejumi (Figure-treading)

Jejumi (Figure-Treading)

is a ceremony observed annually among the Japanese, of trampling upon the crucifix, and images of the Virgin Mary and other saints. It was designed to express the abhorrence of the Japanese for the religion which the Jesuits had tried to introduce into their empire. The images were about a foot long, cast in brass, and kept in a particular box for the purpose. The ceremony took place in presence of the street officers. Each house was entered by turns, two messengers carrying the box. The images were laid upon the bare floor, and the list of the household being called, they were required in turn to tread upon them. Young children, not yet able to walk, were held in their mothers' arms, so as to touch the images with their feet.

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