NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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中畑町八幡社 おまんと祭 Nakabata-chou-hachiman-sha Omanto-matsuri Omanto Festival at Hachiman Shrine in Nakahata Town

Jp En

Omanto Festival, or popularly called “Zuriuma,” dedicated to Hachiman Shrine in Nakahata Town in Nishio City, Aich Prefecture, on the 3rd Sunday in October every year is a horse festival, which used to be a coming-of-age ceremony in the old days.

In this festival, valiant young men wearing happi jackets and jikatabi shoes grab horses by the necks or the mane not to be shaken off and run with them in the riding ground with a circumference of 120 m. Spectators outside the fence shout applause at those courageous men running at full speed with galloping horses. They also whip a horse from outside the fence because it is believed to bring good luck.
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十二月 師走 Juunigatsu Siwasu December, Shiwasu

Jp En

Shiwasu is a Japanese traditional name for December. Shiwasu (師走) literally means “teachers run.” It is a generally accepted interpretation today that everyone gets extremely busy in this month to complete unfinished tasks of the year and prepare for the coming new year including house cleaning and cooking for New Year’s Day. Thus even teachers can’t help running around.

However, the word “Shiwasu” derives from “Shihase-zuki,” which literally means the month when priests visit. In the old days in Japan, December was the time when people held a memorial service for their ancestors just like they do during the Bon period, from which custom it was the month when priests were busy visiting every house of villages or towns.

December is also called Harumachi-zuki, meaning the month to wait for spring, or Kureko-zuki, the year end month. It gets severely cold and quite a few places are attacked by heavy snow. Few plants produce flowers in this month except Camellia sasanqua. Its red flowers add colors to deserted landscapes of the cold winter.
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