Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wanuke-sama festival

On 30 June every year, Kochi’s Wanuke-sama festivals are held at shrines in and around Kochi Prefecture. Wa (circles or hoops) are made from chigaya (Rhizoma Imperatae). You are supposed to go through this circle three times in total in order to keep safe and sound throughout the year.

There are rules for going through the hoop. First, you pass through it, then immediately turn left and come back around the side of the hoop to be in front of it again. You then go through the hoop again, and this time immediately turn right and come back to the original position. On the third time, you go through the hoop and again turn left and come back.

While generally people go through the circle on foot, in some shrines there is a hoop big enough for cars, whose driver wishes for safe driving, to go through.

When you go out for Wanuke-sama, I recommend you wear Yukata (Japanese light kimono for summer) if you want to be more Japanese. If so, you might be able to understand Kochi’s tradition and culture more.

Taken and modified from vol.11 (June 2006. How to enjoy the rainy month of June)

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