A shinto talisman
My town is going to hold a shinto festival next month and the preparation has begun. Today we made a lot of "shimenawa"s, a sort of small wreath made of rice straw. Then we brought shimenawas to a local shrine and made them consecrated ritually by a priest (the white paper signifies that the object is sacred). The shemenawa is now a talisman blessed by a local goddess -- Seoritsu-hime, a very mysterious goddess of purification -- and going to be presented to the households of the area which support the goddess and her shrine.
After the work we joined in a small party with "omiki" (sacred sake) and beer (a common one). All in all a very impressive day.