Aoi Festival queen undergoes ritual purification

The queen of an ancient festival in Kyoto, Japan is undergoing purification in the lead-up to the event.

The Aoi Festival is one of Kyoto’s three most important events.

People in the old capital have held the festival for over 1,000 years.

The queen of the festival must purify herself ahead of time at two important shrines.

Each year, a young woman is chosen to be the queen.

Wearing a ceremonial kimono and traditional makeup, she uses a symbolic slip of paper to wash her sins away.

A blessing from a Shinto priest brings the ritual to a close.

The Aoi Festival takes place May 15th.