Light rain amid rain-making rituals on Kohama Island
November 19, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
Amid a water shortage in the Yaeyama region, which has been experiencing low rainfall, rain-making rituals were held for the first time in about 25 years on Kohama Island. When seven Kantsukasa (woman priests) started to sing a song calling for rain, a light rain began to fall. Smiles spread on the faces of villagers who watched the priests with a feeling of hope.
Kantsukasa priests prayed to Gandoura thunderstones, which were placed in a Kabone sacred site, asking for them to bring rain. After that, young men brought the thunderstones to the center of the island and played a traditional game using the stones. Gandoura stones have been used in rain-making rituals since early times on the island. They create a sound like thunder rumbling when they fall on the ground. It is said that the sound calls on thunder to bring rain.
Then, the priests sang songs and prayed with words to call rain.
Toru Urasoko, director of the Kohama Community Center, said, “We do not have enough rain. Sugarcane crops are withering, resulting in a serious situation. We want our prayers to reach heaven. “The community will continue to hold rain-making rituals if the rain does not fall.
(English translation by T&CT)
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