Mochimaki (an event of scattering rice cakes) (餅まき)

Mochimaki is an event of scattering rice cakes for people who come to a Shinto ritual, such as jotoshiki (the framework raising ceremony held during construction of a new building). It originated from sanpei no gi or sanpeisen no gi (both meaning the ceremony of scattering rice cakes or coins), which was a Shinto ritual held during jotoshiki (also called tatemae) and other ceremonies for praying there would be no problem with the building, and this ritual developed into - and became popular as - mochimaki. Mochimaki came to be held also in the shrines' festivals.

A typical mochimaki is that rice cakes are scattered after jotoshiki from the roof (or other places) of a house under construction. A rice cake is mostly folded in paper or plastic wrap. Generally, red and white rice cakes are scattered.
Some local communities have a peculiar style of scattering not only the rice cakes but also 'five-yen coins or fifty-yen coins on a red string.'
From the 1980s, jotoshiki itself has become rarer for various reasons, such as the increase of prefabricated houses and the decrease of people's mixing with neighbors, but mochimaki is still held as a happy event in shrines' festivals, local communities' festivals, and some universities' festivals.

On January 1, 1956, visitors to Yahiko-jinja Shrine, who gathered for mochimaki, fell over like dominoes, and 124 of them died.

[Original Japanese]