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  • Around 10,000 men participated in Japan's annualNaked Festivalon February 15

  • The Naked Festival, also known as Hadaka Matsuri, is celebrated in the Saidaiji Kannonin Temple in the Okayama prefecture

  • The event is observed on the third Saturday of every February, 30 minutes away from the city

  • Though the festival's name implies that participants are naked, all the men wear a bit of clothing

  • Each participant wears a “fundoshiand a “tabi,” a Japanese loincloth and white socks

  • All of this close contact has made many fearful of the possibility of infection from COVID-19

  • Participants this year were not advised to wear face masks but were provided with hand sanitizers

  • The festival is meant to celebrate prosperity and fertility

  • The event begins at 3:20 p.m. with an activity for young boys

  • While waiting for the main event, the men run around for a couple of hours

  • Some of them soak in cold water to purify themselves

  • Traditional dancers and female drummers perform before a firework event at 7 p.m.

  • Villagers also open their stores at the shopping street, Gofuku-dori

  • At 10 p.m., a priest from the temple throws two shingi sticks and 100 bundles of twigs into the crowd

  • The priest does this from a window above them, about four meters high

  • The shingi sticks, around 20 centimeters long, are supposed to be lucky

  • It is said that the men who find these two sticks during the event become the luckiest men of the year

  • Once the priest throws the sticks into the crowd, all the men start scrambling to find them

  • Because there isn't much space for the 10,000 men to move around, some participants get injured

  • These injuries range from small wounds to painful sprains

  • Participants come alone or in a group, representing themselves or their companies

  • Even foreign tourists come to the temple to take part in the festival

  • The Naked Festival has experienced many changes since it began in the Muromachi Period, around 500 years ago

  • Back then, villagers would go to the same temple to receive paper talismans from a priest

  • The popularity of the paper talismans grew until the number of attendees increased as well

  • Because so many people wanted the talismans, the paper would rip and their clothes would give them a difficult time

  • This led to the temple's decision to use wood and get rid of clothing

  • In 2016, Japan designated the Naked Festival as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Asset

  • Intangible Cultural Properties are assets that are historically or artistically valuable to the country

  • Those who are considered masters of a certain artistry technique or holders of the property are taken care of by the government

  • Japan provides them with special grants and pays for successors to be trained in order to keep the tradition alive

  • The Naked Festival in Okayama is but one of many Japanese naked festivals

  • The Yotsukaido, also attended by men in February, is celebrated in the Chiba prefecture

  • Participants of that festival fight in loincloths and carry children through mud as a form of exorcism

Around 10,000 men participated in Japan's annualNaked Festivalon February 15

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Japan celebrates "Hadaka Matsuri", annual Naked Festival

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    eunice4u4u posted on 2020/02/17
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