Solemn New Year’s celebration held at the Shuri Castle

Solemn New Year’s celebration held at the Shuri Castle

Ninufanu-unufe ceremony that was held on New Year’s day to celebrate the new year and to pray for peace to the gods during the Ryukyu Kingdom era was revived

January 3, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


An event called Shinshun no Utage or New Year’s Banquet was held at Shuri Castle in Naha on January 1.


Three scenes from the Chouhaiokishiki or Imperial Court New Year’s morning ceremony from the Ryukyu Kingdom era were revived on the morning of January 1.

The first scene is called Ninufanu-unufe, in which people playing the role of King, the executives, and representatives of the general public pray for a peaceful year to the gods. While uzagaku music was being played, the King and Queen appear and approach the Una forecourt. The King and his people pray toward the alter while chanting wansui, Okinawan for the Japanese “banzai,” to celebrate the New Year.


Many visitors gathered at the court to watch the solemn celebration performed by the King and others in gorgeous costumes.

Yoshihiro Shimada, a 36 year-old company worker from Tokyo said “It was solemn, and it had the feeling of continental Asian culture that is not present in mainland Japan.”


Free jasmin tea and amazake, a sweet fermented sake, were distributed at the Shichanu-una.


The New Year’s banquet was performed through January 3.


(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)


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