Saigusa Matsuri

Saigusa Matsuri

June 17
For hundreds of years the citizens of Nara, Japan, have searched the surrounding mountains for lilies, gathering them each summer in preparation for the Lily Festival at the Isagawa Shrine. The lilies are placed in a Shinto shrine where seven ladies wearing white robes perform a blessing ceremony over them, and a Shinto priest carries a large bundle of the flowers to the altar as an offering. Then the seven women perform a special dance in which they wave lily stalks in a motion designed to ward off the problems brought on by the wet weather typical this time of year. Afterwards, the lilies are mounted on a float and taken out in a procession through the streets of Nara, where it is believed that they will purify the air.
CONTACTS:
Nara City Information Network
Nara City Hall Tourism Information Ctr.
1-1-1 Nijo Oji Minami
Nara, 630-8012 Japan
81-7-4222-3900; fax: 81-7-4234-1111
www.city.nara.nara.jp/b_hp/english/index.htm
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, Jun 17
RelHolCal-2004, p. 243