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A festival praying for protection against wind damage and for an abundant autumn harvest.

August 16, 2014 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

This is a traditional folk event to appease the wind and pray for a bountiful crop, and is held every year for three days from September 1st. It corresponds to the 210th day from the first day of spring according to the traditional Japanese calendar and is considered a day often beset by calamities when farmers are frequently struck by typhoons.

Although there are many explanations about its origins, it is generally believed that the Bon ritual of paying homage to ancestors merged with a festival praying for a rich harvest.unnamed (8)

All the men and women of the town stop working during the days of the festival. They light small lampstands covered with paper and dance all night while singing the “Ecchu Owara Bushi”which is a folk song handed down in Yatsuo-machi town, Toyama Prefecture. Accompaniment is provided by three-stringed Japanese musical instruments, smaller Japanese stringed instruments and drums. The women all wear the same type of cotton summer kimono with black sashes and hats made by braiding straw, while the men wear short jackets and amigasa hats. The dance is performed in an area extending some 3 kilometers from north to south, and the 11 Owara district sub-branches, each forming a unit, dance on designated stages as they travel around the area.

It used to be a local folk festival for the inhabitants of the town. However, word about the unique melancholic melodies and mysterious dance has spread, and in recent years it has been drawing large numbers of spectators from all over the country.

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