Kitadaito celebrates festival with a fusion of traditions

Kitadaito celebrates festival with a fusion of traditions

Crowds of people come to Daitogu Shrine for the dedication of the portable shrines.

October 6, 2013 Junko Uechi correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo

Kitadaito Island celebrated the annual festival Daitogusai on September 22 and 23 to pray for bumper crops. The Daitogu Shrine has honored Amaterasu Omikami, the goddess of the sun, as the guardian deity for people on the island since its early days. The villagers hold the festival every year. It is a unique event with a fusion of the traditions of Okinawa and the main islands of Japan, including rituals, a portable shrine tour, sumo dedication and entertainment.

On September 22, a mikoshi portable shrine parade was held by three groups – adults, junior high school and elementary school pupils. After starting from the shrine, they visited the sugar factory, the branch office of the JA Okinawa, and the municipal office, while in the background the bell and drum resounded from the festival float. On September 23, the sumo dedication was held at the shrine.

Children from kindergartens, pupils from the elementary school and junior high school took part in the event. The residents encouraged their children who were doing their best at sumo, including trying to defeat three and five opponents in a row. Local players and those from Kume-jima Island took part in the Okinawa sumo and Edo (Japanese) sumo and the people in the audience were excited watching the bouts.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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