How to make teru teru bozu, a rain-stopping tissue paper ghost


I saw some little cloth ghosts on my neighbor’s doorstep this morning (probably remaining from Halloween) that reminded me of teru teru bozu. It’s a little piece of Japanese superstitious folklore — by hanging these little guys outside your window, we believe that we can stop the rain from coming. I distinctly remember making a ton of these out of tissue paper one day before our annual school sporting event, forecast: rain. It didn’t work. But if you want to try it yourself, here’s how:

– Take one sheet of tissue paper and roll it up in a ball
– Take another sheet of tissue, wrap the center around the ball, and tie the nape with a rubber band, letting the loose ends hang down like a dress
– Draw a face on the little guy
– Once you’ve made half a dozen or so, hang them by their necks outside the window
– Sing this song: teru teru bozu, teru bozu, ashita tenki ni shite okure.

This adorable little girl Emily gives a great demo in this video:

According to Wikipedia, the song was written in 1921 and the folklore behind it is kind of morbid: a monk promised a bunch of farmers that he would be able to stop the rain with teru teru bozu, and when he was wrong, he was executed. Brutal!

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