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Onda Matsuri Festival

Location: Asukaniimasu-Jinjya Shrine (Asukamura Asuka)
Date: First Sunday of February (every year)
Onda Matsuri Festival is held on first Sunday of February every year in Asukaniimasu-Jinjya Shrine.

"There are four strange sexual ritual festivals in the west of Japan: "Tenteko Matsuri Festival" in Mikawa, "Tagata Matsuri Festival" in Owari, "Amikake Matsuri Festival" in Yamatoettsumi and "Onda Matsuri Festival" in Asuka. "Onda Matsuri Festival" is famous as the strangest sexual ritual festival.

This festival was originally called "Otaue Sinji" and is somewhat shrouded in mystery. The people who invented it, and how and when this festival started, are all unknown.

This festival has been inherited as a custom by Asuka famers. First, young Asuka farmers wear masks of ""Tengu"" (long-nose goblin) and ""Okina"" (old man) and swing bamboo sticks around to protect people from evil spirits.

The festival normally starts with a Japanese drum (Ichiban-daiko), with another Japanese drum (Niban-daiko) follows the first one. This is typical of the festival for harvest. The first part of this festival is the ceremony of rice-planting, seed-planting and rice field works.
Then, a third Japanese drum (Sanban-daiko) is played for the climax of the festival. This is the ceremony of great happiness for marriage. A couple who are called "Otafuku" and "Tengu" with unique costumes will dance for love and entertain the visitors. We call this ceremony "Tane tsuke" (mating). After "Tane tsuke",the couple stands up, cleans up with paper from their kimono and distributes this to the visitors. This paper is called as "Fukuno-kami". Only one visitor will fortunately get this paper per year. People believe a superstition that the person who gets the paper will be blessed with a baby if he/she uses it at home. This is the final stage of this old custom.

Such sexual ritual festivals were normally practiced only in farm villages in the surrounding mountains. Seen from a folk perspective, it is unique that Asuka - which was a developed society since Jodai - has such a tradition. You will see the sincerity of the local farmers in this tradition for harvest and prosperity as descendants of the original festival.


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