“Onbashira-sai” being held for the first time in six years

By TERRY - Last updated: 木曜日, 4月 29, 2010 - Save & Share - One Comment

image250px-Suwataisya_kamisya_kawagoshi  This is a special year for Japan, as “Onbashira-sai”(/御柱祭,  the festival of  honored pillars) is being held. http://www.onbashira.jp/english/index.html  This festival has been held once every six years (in the Japanese traditional way of counting, every seven years) in the year of  the  Monkey and the Tiger in the Chinese  Zodiac  uninterruptedly for at least more than 1200 years !  98041110


  The festival is said to be one of the three strangest festivals in Japan, which is held at Suwa Grand Shrine(/諏訪大社, Suwa Taisha)which consists of several smaller shrines in Lake Suwa area, Nagano Pref.  in April and May in the every sixth year.   This festival is for replacing the old logs of the pillars of the shrine buildings for new ones for renovating them.  The festival consists of two sigments; “Yamadashi”(/山出し, cutting down trees, getting logs in the mountains and  carrying them to town) in April , and “Satobiki”(里曳き, carrying the logs from town to the shrine sites and set them at the four corners of the buildings respectively) in May. This year Yamadashi was held on April 2,3, 4,9,10, and 11 and Satobiki is going to be held on May 2,3,4,8,9,and 10.  And  “Houden Senza -sai”(/宝殿遷座祭/ the festival to celebrate the removal of  the treasury building)  is going to be held on June 15. And also “Komiya-sai(/小宮御柱祭, small shrines festivals) which is like a “mini-Onbashira-sai” are going to be held in autumn. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onbashira

  Whole of the festival is done by the followers of the shrines with primitive manual work only as each part is a secred ceremony, which some 500 residents join for each segment and a lot of specutaters of tourists.     

 The climax of  Yamadashi is “Ki-otoshi”(木落とし, skidding and dropping the logs down a steep slope of  a mountain ) which is a very popular part in the process of  carrying the logs. The male followers joining Yamadashi ride on the logs skidding down the slope at a high speed to prove their bravery like a secred ordeal or rite of passage. As the speed is so high that they are all bucked off from the logs and sometimes some men get hurt , still the dynamic impact is the essential attraction of the festival.

This series of  the festival is surely one of  good ways to sense the old and unique traditions of Japanese conventinal culture.220px-Suwa_taisha_harumiya12nt3200250px-Onbasira_Kiotoshi

Posted in Lifestyle, Old and New Cultural Scenes in Japan • • Top Of Page
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