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Tamamura-machi , Gunma Related category:
Harukuwa Matsuri festival of Higo Shinmeigu Shrine    

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It is likely that the Harukuwa Matsuri Festival of Higo Shinmeigu Shrine had already started to be celebrated by the 10th year of the Kansei era (1798). This festival is for a Shinto ritual of Taasobi where a celebration is performed in anticipation of a good harvest and is held on February 11 every year at Shinmeigu Shrine.
After the ceremony is given in the haiden or the hall of worship, the Kuwamochi (hoe carrier) who carries an object representing a hoe by putting rice dumplings onto the branches of a sakaki or an oak tree and makes gestures, such as kuronuri, in front of the haiden. When the negi priest, the master of the ceremony, calls out "Harukuwa yoshi" (Its time for the spring hoe) at a suitable time, the congregation calls back "Itsumo itsumo momoyo yoshi" (Always, always, its eternally good). When this exchange has been repeated three times, the Kuwamochi throws the hoe and the congregation gathers to catch it. It is said that placing the caught hoe in the house will bring a good silkworm harvest, and the house of the people who picked up the ear of rice will be certain to have a good harvest.
The Harukuwa Matsuri was designated a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property in 2002.

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