While paying their respects at local shrines, especially for the first visit of the year, many people purchase omamori – small amulets, usually made of colorfully decorated cloth, that provide protection or assistance. Historically, omamori grew in popularity under both Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan, where priests believed that putting the power and strength of the gods into pocket-sized blessings would keep people safe. Popular varieties include good health, traffic safety, and success in school.

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