Hadaka Matsuri

(redirected from Naked festival)

Hadaka Matsuri (Naked Festival)

January or February, depending on location
Hadaka Matsuri—which means, literally, "naked festival"—is a Shinto tradition observed all over Japan, usually not long after New Year's Day or Oshogatsu. The young men who participate are naked except for traditional white loincloths known as fundoshi or mawashi . At the ringing of the temple bell, large numbers of them attempt to climb up a thick rope suspended from the temple ceiling. Because the first to reach the top will have good fortune in the coming year, there is often a good deal of jockeying for position on the rope.
Sometimes the participants in Hadaka Matsuri immerse themselves in a river beforehand to purify themselves. Occasionally several semi-naked young men will carry a mikoshi, or portable shrine, in the form of a horse, rice bale, or sake barrel into the river with them.
Japan National Tourist Organization
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IllFestJapan-1993, p. 18
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