Daruma is the guardian deity for things like prosperous businesses and successful careers. Let me introduce you to the Daruma in Japan.
Where can I buy Daruma?
You can purchase Daruma at "Daruma Markets" held nationwide or at specialty Daruma stores.
The timing for "Daruma Markets" varies, but here are the dates for the three major Daruma Markets known as "Takasaki Daruma Market," "Fukutokuji Daruma Market," and "Bishamonten Festival Daruma Market":
- Takasaki Daruma Market (Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture): January 1st and 2nd, 2024
- Fukutokuji Daruma Market (Mitaka City, Tokyo): March 3rd and 4th, 2024
- Bishamonten Festival Daruma Market (Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture): February 16th, 17th, and 18th, 2024
When you purchase a Daruma, you first paint one eye
This eye represents a wish. At the end of a safe year or when your wish comes true, you paint the other eye, expressing gratitude. A Daruma with both eyes painted is offered at a nearby shrine or temple with a donation or ceremonially burnt, commonly during a festival like "dondo yaki," to show respect.
The painting of Daruma's eyes instills its spirit, typically starting from the left eye.
As for where to place a Daruma, in homes with a household shrine, it's positioned to the right of the shrine. In households without a shrine, it's placed in a higher position than eye level, where it can oversee things. For Daruma used for passing exams, placing them on a study desk is also recommended.
The preferred orientation for placing a Daruma is to have its face directed towards the east from the south.
What are the ways to pay respects to a Daruma？
For a Daruma with both eyes painted, the following methods are used for ceremonial burning:
- Offering at a nearby shrine or temple with a donation.
- Participating in local New Year events like "dondo yaki," where traditional New Year decorations are burnt as a form of respect.
- Sending the Daruma back to the shop where it was purchased along with a donation. Some shops, like those selling Takasaki Daruma, periodically conduct ceremonial burnings.
The ceremonial burning of a Daruma is primarily carried out through the first two methods mentioned. However, if there's no specific receiving place at nearby shrines or temples or if there are no local events like "dondo yaki," you might be able to arrange for the ceremonial burning by sending the Daruma back to the shop along with a donation. It varies by shop, so it's best to inquire directly with them.