Regional Cultural Asset Portal

Kashihara City , Nara Related category:
Nara Prefectures Intangible Folk Cultural Property Susutsuke Matsuri (soot smearing festival)    

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A traditional event for praying for childrens health and good harvest, which is performed at Jio-cho, Kashihara City the day before Sekku (the Boys Festival on the fifth of May) every year.

On the evening of May 4, the younger children in the village strip themselves down to their underwear and jump out at the signal of a bell, while older children, holding soot collected from all the houses and kneaded together with oil, chase the younger ones and smear them with soot. They finally go to the precinct of Hitomaro Shrine where the final soot-smearing battles take place. It is believed that the blacker the person, the more health is given.

Children who take baths and clean themselves up stay overnight at the house of a caretaker (Tokeya), and early next morning, go and worship Nogamitsuka. They offer emas (votive pictures of horses) and a large straw serpent made the previous day, sake, salt, marine and agricultural products to gods to pray for health and a good harvest.

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