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Carrying a Portable Shrine to Pray for Safety! Okinawa's Traditional Event “Hamauri”
post : 2014.11.14 16:00
Okinawa holds a traditional event tied to the lunar calendar. March 3rd is mainly thought of as Hina-matsuri, but March 3rd on the lunar calendar (roughly around the beginning of April) is “Hamauri”, where girls cleanse themselves and pray for good health, and it is held in each area of Okinawa.
It’s called “Hamauri” or “Hamaori”, depending on the region, and in Miyakojima and Yaeyama areas, it is called “Sanitsu” and “Sanizu.” For people on islands surrounded by the ocean, a calendar based on the one month period of the phases of the moon is closely connected to their lives. The spring tide on this day has the largest tides of the year, so the seaside is crowded with families enjoying clam digging. It is a custom to pack tiered boxes with a feast’s worth, gather on the beach with everyone and eat “o-ju” (meal packed into a box), and today many people enjoy “Hamauri” in a picnic style.
In Uruma on Henzajima, where there were once many “uminchu” (fishermen), they don’t just pray for good health, but also have events to pray for safe voyages and good harvests.
Representative women harpoon fish, perform the “Tuda Nu Iyu” ceremony dedicated to “noro” (the woman in charge of the ritual), and after that, the “Nanzamoi” costume parade begins a march through the island. Doing a costume parade is an event unique to Henzajima with people marching through the village wearing washcloths, masks and creative costumes. Recently Hyottoko Man (droll fellow), Frankenstein and other unique costumes can be seen too. A portable shrine and flags are carried and walked out of the village to the ocean on the east side of Henzajima where “Nanza Rock” is in the sea.
They climb the rugged rocks and perform the “worship of Nanza” at the top to pray for safety and a good harvest, and the participants pass around and eat “island octopus”, the fruit of the sea.
When the “worship of Nanza” ends, the costume parade returns to the beach and begins the celebratory feast.
The “shimanchu” (the islanders) dance the “kachashi” to the playing of “sanshin” (musical instrument) music and the lions dance dynamically. Try enjoying the culture of this island that treasures its traditional events.
Date/April 3 (Thu), 2014 1pm-5pm
Place/Henzajima Council Hall
Tribute Ceremony “Tuda Nu Iyu”
Costume Parade “Nanzamoi”
Nanza Rock Prayer “Worship of Nanza”
“Popo” is a baked treat used as an offering on March 3rd of the lunar calendar. Henza Popo is a specialty popular with the locals. Try the old-fashioned flavor of the popo too.
Click here for the recipe
Address/409-2 Henza, Yonashiro, Uruma City
Okinawa CLIP Photowriter monobox