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Hanazumo Matsuri
 

This festival brings in children of all ages and sizes from all around the prefecture to compete in the "sport of the gods", sumo. The younger ones compete in mock battles, the only goal in it is to bring good luck to the participants. The older ones compete for real in the same ring.

Before the sumo contests can begin there are a number of ceremonies and chants which must be completed. They made offerings to the Shinto gods with the aid of a priest. Fruits, rice cakes, and drinks were offered to the shinto gods by a priest.


Then there is a staged battle between
several costumed heroes and an evil dragon.

Following the re-enactment of the legendary battle was a traditional dance.

 

The master of ceremonies was a very reluctant little boy who, even through his tears of embarrasment, was able to shout out the last words of the traditional opening. The participants all wear mawashi, or loincloth.


The volunteers push the two babies together in a mock-combat
routine and gently press each one's back to the ground (this is good luck!).

 

Though most of the time both babies cried,
they were both lifted high up after the match and awarded prizes.

 

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