All Souls Procession resources

Dance

The dance: Tucson Ondo. Movements represent large and small mountains that surround Tucson, the blazing sun, the wind kicking up and monsoon rains that follow. After rain, we hula hoe the weeds, clean up, and then are satisfied with our accomplishments :)

Chant

This Ainu chant was taught to Odaiko Sonora members by Yoko Fujimoto.

mp3 recording

written words and music

Yoko riffing on the theme video.

Make-up

If you choose to do face make-up, we ask that you reference some basic design elements from Ainu culture and Japanese folk traditions, based on the translation of the chant, which mentions a deer and a wolf. Below are a few samples and some links to more info. Feel free to research more and riff on the designs, but please read about the practice represented by an images if you decide to use it and consider the religious/spiritual significance.

FOX/WOLF/DEER: Above are some images I got off the web. The top three are considered fox, but there are creatures that are, say, "lion/dog/deer" so don't get too attached to the exact animal as we think of it in our reality. The lower left image is a wolf and the lower right is a deer design.

Fox or Kitsune character description

Japanese Wolf information

Deer Dance or Shishi-odori information


AINU WOMAN (above): The tattoo was part of a rite of passage. Only females could give and receive it. It spiritually bonded them to an ancestral line relating to the creator and the hearth fire goddess which served as a mediator between humans and gods or spirits. It started with a dot on the upper lip, and was expanded over her life to surround her lips and extend toward her ears.

From Rekishi Nippon:
“For the Ainu, tattooing was exclusive to females, as was the profession of tattooist. According to mythological accounts, tattoo was brought to earth by the “ancestral mother” of the Ainu Okikurumi Turesh Machi, who was the younger sister of the creator god Okikurumi.

Traditional Ainu tattooing instruments called makiri were knife-like in form. As the cutting intensified, the blood was wiped away with a cloth saturated in a hot ash wood or spindlewood antiseptic called nire. Soot taken with the fingers from the bottom of a kettle was rubbed into the incisions, and the tattooist would then sing a yukar or portion of an epic poem that said: “Even without it, she’s so beautiful. The tattoo around her lips, how brilliant it is. It can only be wondered at.” Afterward, the tattooist recited a kind of spell or magic formula as more pigment was laid into the skin: “pas ci-yay, roski, roski, pas ren-ren”, meaning “soot enclosed remain, soot sink in, sink in”.

While this invocation may not seem important at first glance, it was symbolically significant nonetheless. Every Ainu home was constructed according to plan with reference to the central hearth and a sacred window facing a stream. Within the hearth was kindled fire, and within the fire was the home of an important deity who served as mediator between all Ainu gods – Fuchi. The fire goddess Fuchi was invoked prior to all ceremonials because communication with other kamuy (deities and spirits) was impossible without her divine intervention. Fuchi guarded over families and lent her spiritual support in times of trouble and illness or at times of birth and death. In this respect, the central hearth was a living microcosm of the Ainu mythological universe, because as a ritual space, it replicated and provided a means from which to actively intervene in the cosmos. However, it was also a space where Ainu and the gods grew wary of one another, especially if the fire was not burning at all times.

According to Romyn Hitchcock, an ethnologist working for the Smithsonian Institution in the late 19th century, Ainu tattoo was laid upon the skin at specific intervals, the process sometimes extending over several years: “The faces of the women are disfigured by tattooing around the mouth, the style of which varies with locality. Young maidens of six or seven have a little spot on the upper lip. As they grow older, this is gradually extended until a more or less broad band surrounds the mouth and extends into a tapering curve on both cheeks towards the ears.”

The completed lip tattoos of women were significant in regards to Ainu perceptions of life experience. First, these tattoos were believed to repel evil spirits from entering the body (mouth) and causing sickness or misfortune. Secondly, the lip tattoos indicated that a woman had reached maturity and was ready for marriage. And finally, lip tattoos assured the woman life after death in the place of her deceased ancestors.”