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Omi Take-no-karakai (Tug-of-wars with bamboo)

January 20, 2015

“Omi Take-no-karakai” is a very unique annual event in Japan held in the mid-January to celebrate Lunar New Year’s Day, which has been inherited since the Edo Period (17c), about 300 years ago, in Higashi-machi and Nishi-machi (East Town and West Town) of Omi, Itoigawa City, Niigata Prefecture.

When a new year begins, Omi area, divided into Higashi-machi (east town) and Nishi-machi (west town), starts preparation for Take-no-karakai to be held on January 15th. At the event, the two town teams consisting of mainly young men with special ‘kumadori’ make-up energetically fight by hauling two 13-14-meter bamboos from both sides. The fights are followed by ‘Sai-no-kami-yaki’, or a bonfire ceremony by burning New Year’s decorations on the shore to pray to a local guardian deity Sai-no-kami for good health of the people, rich harvest, and good haul during the year. It is believed that this event is originated from a folk belief with an aim to pray for rich harvest, warding off bad luck and bringing good luck, and well-being of families.

Let’s see how the Omi Take-no-karakai proceeds in more detail, from its preparation through the fights to the end.

Read the full article:
Omi Take-no-karakai (Tug-of-wars with bamboo)



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