Sutsuupunaka celebration for a full harvest held in Tarama

<em>Sutsuupunaka</em> celebration for a full harvest held in Tarama

Around 11:00pm on May 31 at Tsugawa Community Center in Tarama, villagers passed around libation in akatsukinigai, as they wished for a year with a good harvest.

June 1, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

From May 31 to June 2, the harvest festival Sutsuupunaka was held at four sites in Tarama, with all the villagers hoping for a year with a good harvest and prosperity.

Based on their respective roles, groups called za are formed for each of four ceremony sites of Nagashiga, Fudaya, Piejuni and Areeki. The busha-za group makes and serves libation called misu, and the kuban-za group cooks the food. On May 31, the villagers worked hard all around the village to prepare for the festival.

From late in the evening on May 31 into the early hours of June 1, villagers conducted akatsukinigai, in which male villagers sang sacred songs called niiri at each of the ceremony sites and passed around libation in square plates and saucers, singing as they hoped for a year with a good harvest. Divine songs echoed around the dim and quiet village.

On June 1, tsukasanma, or women who administer the ritual, and invited guests visited the ceremony sites one after the other.

Along with the Hachi-gatsu odori (August Dance), which is designated as an intangible folk cultural asset of the village, Sutsuupunaka is one of Tarama Village’s traditional feature events.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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