Naginata-hoko Chigo Shasan, Gion Matsuri, Kyoto

The Gion Matsuri consists of a series of events and ceremonies taking place during the whole month of July.  On the 13th, a rite called the “Naginata-hoko Chigoshasan” is held at the Yasaka Jinja Shrine. During this ceremony, the Chigo or “Celestial Child” who rides on the Naginata float (the one leading the procession) is taken on horseback, together with a retinue of attendants, to the Yasaka Shrine to receive the blessings of the deity. Through this ritual, the boy becomes a divine messenger and receives a traditional fifth-level court rank and feudal Lord status. 

After this ritual, the Chigo is carried on the shoulder of a bearer (called Goriki) as his feet must not touch the ground until the end of the procession on the 17th.