知っておきたい通夜・葬式の参列マナー:清め塩の正しい使い方

知人や親族のお葬式に参列した後、帰り際に清め塩を渡されることが多いのですが、どのように使えば良いか知らない人も多いのではないでしょうか。

自宅に入る前に、正しく使う必要があるので、正しい使い方を知っておきましょう。

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清め塩は何のためにあるのか?

清め塩は、そもそも神道の葬儀で用いられてきた厄払いの儀式でした。神道の場合は、人が亡くなることを強い穢れであると見なしており、穢れを自宅へ持ち帰らないようにするために、塩を用いて身体を清めます。

しかし日本で普及している仏教の場合は、葬儀を穢れとは判断しないため、清める必要が無いとされています。

宗派によっては、逆に清めの儀式に強く反対しているところもあるので、使用する場合には自分の家の宗派にも注意しておきましょう。

日本では、仏教が伝わる遥か昔から神道が普及しており、地方によっては慣習として、宗派に関わらず清めを行うことも多いです。

穢れと言っても、亡くなった人そのものを厄として毛嫌いするわけではなく、葬儀に引き寄せられて集まって来る邪気や良くない悪霊などを清めるために、清め塩を使用することになります。

決して亡くなった人を、嫌なものとして見なしているわけではないので、清め塩に過剰な反応をする必要はありません。

葬儀で塩を受け取った場合は、余程宗派にこだわりがある場合以外は、マナーとして使用しても構わないでしょう。

清め塩の正しい使い方

清めの塩を使う場合、正しいマナーに基づいて使用する必要があります。現在では、そこまで厳しくマナーを気にする人はいませんが、正しい使い方をするに越したことはないので、知識として知っておきましょう。

具体的な正しい使い方としては、葬儀から帰ったら必ず玄関に入る前に、外で使用します。

あまり人に見られないようにするためや、マンションなどの集合住宅で共用部分を散らかさないようにするため、自宅の玄関の中に入ってから使用する人もいるでしょうが、これは決して正しい使い方ではありません。

葬儀を終えた状態で玄関に入ってしまえば、自宅に邪気や悪霊を連れ込んでしまうことになります。これを防ぐため、必ず玄関に入る前に使用することがポイントです。

次に、塩を振りかける場所の順番にも、マナーがあります。最初に胸、次に背中で最後に足元という順で塩を振りかけましょう。量はそれぞれ一つまみ程度で構いませんが、最後に手もしっかり払うようにします。

自分で振りかけても良いのですが、より効果を高めるためには、家族など穢れていない人にかけてもらうようにしましょう。

清め塩を使うかどうかは自分の判断で

上記でも述べましたが、清めの塩はもともと神道で使用されていた儀式です。神道以外では決して必要なものではないので、自分の家の宗派が仏教など別のものなら無理に使用しなくても構いません。

むしろ、仏教などでは亡くなった人は、仏様になれると信じられているため、死や葬儀は清めるようなものではないと判断されます。

清めに強く反対している宗派もあるので、注意しておきましょう。ただ、清めのために塩を使うというのは、日本で古くから行われてきた慣習にもなっているため、実際に神道以外の宗派でも塩を貰えば使用する人も多くいます。

最近では、自分の家の宗派がどれなのかよく知らないという人や、無宗教の人も増えてきているので、あくまでも慣習として難しく考えずに使用しても良いでしょう。

仮に、会葬御礼などで塩が配られなかったとしても、自分で何となく穢れや厄が気になる場合は、家にある塩を使って清めを行っても構いません。

現代では、儀式と言うより伝統や慣習としての意味合いが強くなっているので、自分の判断で使用するか否かを決めるようにしましょう。

清め塩以外のお清めやマナー

葬儀が行われた場合に用いられる清めとしては、塩以外にも様々な儀式が存在しており、その中でも私たちが無意識に行っているものとして、通夜振る舞いなどの食事が挙げられます。

食事が清めの儀式になるとは、意外な気もしますが、地域や宗派によっては立派な清めとして認められているので、覚えておくと良いでしょう。

食事は、単純に夜通し行われる通夜で小腹を満たすために出されるわけではなく、食事をすることで、私たち生きている人間が活力を得て命を繋ぐという意味もあります。

通夜や葬儀に参列することで、悲しい気持ちになったり、良くない邪気を払うために役立つと考えられています。

通夜振る舞いの場では、食事の他にお酒も一緒に振る舞われることが多いです。お神酒というものがあるように、お酒にも邪気などを払って、私たちを悪いものから守ってくれる力があると信じられています。

大昔の日本では、お酒は神様が作って与えてくれたものだと伝えられていたため、清めとしても活用されることがあります。

どの清めを利用するかは、葬儀や自分の判断にもよりますが、いずれの場合も目的はほぼ同じです。

最後に

このように、葬儀の際に渡される清め塩には正しい使い方というものがあります。

最近では、あまりマナーや使い方を気にする必要はありませんが、身体を清めるという本来の目的を果たすためにも、知識をしっかり付けておきましょう。

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