New Year’s banquet at Shuri Castle: Ryukyu Kingdom era ritual performed as prayer for peace
January 3, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
On January 1, the annual New Year’s banquet began at Shurijo Castle Park in Naha, Okinawa. The event is held every year from January 1 to 3.
The Chouhaiokishiki, or Imperial Court New Year’s morning ceremony from the Ryukyu Kingdom era, was held on January 1 and 2. The ritual consisted of three parts.
The spectacular event attracted many tourists and families.
At Ninufanu-unufe, the first part of the event, a man playing the role of the king appeared and offered incense at an altar, with an entourage of the sanshikan (the council of three ministers) and the representatives of ordinary people.
All of the participants focused their minds intensely on a prayer for peace.
Miyuki Motoda, 44, visited from Haebaru with her two sons, who are at elementary school. She said, “Even now living in Okinawa, I don’t know enough about history. My children have reached an age to start understanding these things so I brought them here.”
Her son Shigeaki, a fifth-grade student from Haebaru Elementary School, said, “It was was more interesting than I expected. I was surprised really because the Chinese language was used [at the ritual].”
(English Translation by T&CT)
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