Customs and Rituals

Is there a regular, standard Shinto group liturgical worship?

Communal worship is not a regular feature of Shinto liturgical practice. People may arrive at a shrine in large numbers, but they generally do not gather to worship as a large congregation. Individual and small group worship is the norm, whether for brief impromptu visits made outside the shrine or for more elaborate priestly rituals in the worship hall. A distinctive feature of Shinto architecture is the absence of worship spaces large enough to accommodate sizeable congregations. By contrast, the bigger Japanese Buddhist temples accomodate sizable groups in a single worship space. Even in larger Shinto shrines, the parts of the worship facility open to the public are in any case not fully enclosed. Being very much at the mercy of cold weather is the price of wanting a sacred space to be as much in tune with nature as possible. This also reflects the underlying sense that people build community through other activities, but perform their most intimate spiritual duties as individuals or families.


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