People of Yaeyama offer dance performance to God of fertility at the beginning of the Harvest Festival
July 15, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo
The harvest festival was held in the Ohama district, Ishigaki City, on July 9 and 10, offering prayers for a bountiful harvest both this year and next summer. Starting at Ohama, the Yaeyama regions have entered the harvest festival season. A diverse range of festivals will be held in all the districts towards the end of the month.
Murapuru Ohama Harvest Festival was held on July 10, in the square in front of the assembly house where the kantsukasa, or sacred women, came together throughout the utaki or the sacred sites. Residents dedicated their performances to the gods, including the bold standard-bearing by young men, iriku drums by Ohama Junior High School students, the miruku or maitreya parade accompanied by students of Ohama Elementary School and the song yoruame-bushi performed by the Women’s Club.
After making a dedication to the sacred place, the kantsukasa and representatives of the local community performed the agari-bushi or old song sung through the ages in the region. As the finale in the ceremony, they prayed for a good harvest in their dance, stretching their hands towards the sea to invite in the gods.
The festival has also been a great success with its entertainment, including song and dance performed by local residents. Many tourists came and took photographs of the display of traditional culture.
The director of Ohama Community Center Zensho Takamine said, “Ohama is a farming community. We were hit badly this year by typhoons and want to shed a bright light on the path ahead beyond the harvest festival.”
The harvest festival was held in Sakieda district on July 10.
(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey）
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