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Taketomi Town , Okinawa Related category:
Honen-sai and Shichi    



Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 107 minutes
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Funauki area is located 450 kilometers south of Okinawa's main island, in Taketomi Town on the Iriomote Island, where double cropping is common and its first harvest finishes in June. To celebrate the harvest, "Hoen-sai (harvest festival)" is held in a big way. First, "Nigai (prayer)" is given by "Tsukasa (priest)" and songs are dedicated for the festival. After people sing dedication songs such as "Yarayo (a song wishing for Maytreya's World)," "Maichiba (a song wishing for a safe journey)," "Apare (meaning 'a wonderful day')," and "Nakarada (meaning 'a fertile rice field')," "bojutsu (stick fighting)" starts out upon conducting Chinu-sara and Naka-sara (in which new sake is offered to the priest). The performers demonstrate the items: "Pachikai," "Ichiban-bo (first bar)," "Tsuki-bo (goad)," "Rokushaku-bo (2-meter bar)" "Gahya-bo (sickle-like bar)," "San-nin-bo (3-person bar)," and finally, "Gonin-bo (5-person bar)." Thereafter, lion dances are performed and the priest leaves the stage before the closing.
Shichi is the second largest event after Honen-sai, held in every November in prayer for good harvest of the next year and called "the New Year of farmers." Hatagashira (flag of a shrine) is hoisted, prayer is offered to Funeutaki (a popular religious facility in Okinawa). After the rituals in the Mediator's house are over, "Funa-kogi (boating)" is conducted with "Sabani-bune (Sabani boats)." For the local people here, who believe that happiness comes from the sea, this festival is important. Angar (a prayer song) starts thereafter. In the circle of boatmen, 3 women sing the prayer song. After bojutsu and lion dance are performed, the festival closes.

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