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Japanese Festivals in April Posted by on Apr 17, 2010 in Culture

The highlight of the かなまら Festival is held in かながわ Prefecture, and is a parade where participants offer prayers to cure infertility and ensure safe child birth for the mother and child. More than ever, this festival has grown in social significance. Japan is facing a future of low birth rates and an increasing aging population. Locals say it dates back to the Edo Period, when prostitutes offered prayers to prevent STDs. Check this video out :

The おんばしら Festival takes place in ながの and occurs every seven years. Giant fir tree logs are dragged into town and paraded around for all to see. Then the local men ride the giant logs down a steep slope. In the past, several people have died from riding the logs. Due to lawsuit concerns, only locals are premitted to participate.

The やすらい Festival in きょうと involves four men dressed as demons. This festival dates back to a devasting plague in ninth century Japan. The demons are thought to have brought the plague, and this festival is a reenactment of the destruciton of the plague. The men who are not dressed as demons carry a processional canopy. The locals believe that the canopy will protect anyone who stands under it from any illness.

The ながしびな Festival in とっとり Prefecture celebrates the coming of the spring season. Small dolls are placed in wooden or paper boats. The tiny boats flow across the stream. They symbolize the melting snows that are carried downstream.

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